BBG Watch Commentary

Mark Gjonaj
Mark Gjonaj

An Albanian American political and civic leader has joined the Advisory Board of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB –, an independent NGO which supports international media outreach of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

CUSIB announced that Mark Gjonaj, a Member of the New York State’s Assembly for the 80th Assembly District, will work with CUSIB to protect Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcasts to the Balkans.

CUSIB advocates for continuing U.S.-funded media outreach to countries without free media and with fragile political systems. CUSIB also argues for management reforms to strengthen BBG media outlets and to make them more effective as news organizations providing uncensored news and opinions which foreign audiences cannot get otherwise.

The following press release has been posted on the CUSIB website.



June 10, 2014

CUSIB - Supporting journalism for media freedom and human rights

CUSIB Welcomes Mark Gjonaj

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – is pleased to welcome Mark Gjonaj who has accepted our invitation to serve as a Member of our Advisory Board.

Ann Noonan, CUSIB’s Executive Director and co-founder stated:

“CUSIB is honored that Mark Gjonaj has accepted our invitation to serve on our Advisory Board. We are very proud of Mark Gjonaj’s public efforts to protect Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty services broadcasting to Albania and the rest of the Balkans from the budget proposals to eliminate them. We are confident that Mark Gjonaj’s participation on CUSIB’s Advisory Board will be invaluable in our efforts to strengthen media outreach and human rights throughout the world.”

Ted Lipien, CUSIB’s Director and co-founder stated:

“CUSIB will benefit from Mark Gjonaj’s role as an Albanian American voice and from his understanding of the importance of U.S. media outreach in the Balkans – especially now when international tensions continue to rise and peace in that region remains fragile. We were pleased to learn that as a result of the input the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has received from Mark Gjonaj and others, a re-evaluation of the programming cuts proposal is underway at the BBG. We look forward to working with Mr. Gjonaj to send a strong message that this is not the time to cut substantive, balanced and timely news services by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Voice of America (VOA) to Albania and the rest of the Balkan region, especially in light of the frequent manipulation of news by the Kremlin’s external media outlets.”

Mark Gjonaj serves as a Member of the New York State’s Assembly for the 80th Assembly District. He is also a voice for Albanian-Americans throughout the New York metropolitan area. Prior to his election, he was the founder and president of MP Realty Group Corp. During his leadership at MP Realty Group, he became heavily involved as an active member of the community. Recognizing that civic and philanthropic service are the cornerstones of a strong community, Mark Gjonaj has devoted significant time and energy to a number of community activities and organizations, including the Illyria Clinic at Jacobi Medical Center, Einstein College of Medicine Community Advisory Council, Westchester School for Special Children and Our Lady of Shkodra Church. Mark Gjonaj is a former Commissioner of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission. He is a graduate of St. John’s University, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. Mr. Gjonaj’s motivation comes from the hardships that his family have overcome, and he is inspired by the love, generosity and support of his family and friends.

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – is an independent, nongovernmental organization which supports free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries without free media.

For further information, please contact:

Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Tel. 646-251-6069

Ted Lipien, co-founder and Director
Tel. 415-793-1642