Watch is reposting a press release which appeared on the CUSIB website.

CUSIB Logo-Name-Mission

January 2, 2014

CUSIB Advisory Board Member Tim Shamble Defends BBG Employees

Tim Shamble, President of American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812, who also serves on the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – Advisory Broad, has written a letter to New York Daily News defending employees of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Mr. Shamble was responding to a New York Daily News op-ed, in which AFGE Local 1812 was described as “change-averse union.” The op-ed also described the agency’s management as resistant to change and responsible for abysmal employee morale.

Mr. Shamble pointed out that far from being resistant to change, AFGE Local 1812, which represents BBG’s federal employees, including those working for the Voice of America (VOA) and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB – Radio and TV Marti, the union and the broadcasters it represents have embraced change.

CUSIB Director Ted Lipien, who had served formerly as VOA acting associate director, stated:

“AFGE Local 1812 President Tim Shamble was absolutely correct in his observation about employees of U.S. international broadcasting and multimedia operations. As someone who for several years had served in various managerial positions at the agency, I can confirm that during my tenure the union was never an obstacle to change and is not an obstacle to change now. In fact, many of its highly talented members have initiated and implemented with the help of sympathetic managers important technological and programming changes.

I had worked with AFGE officers and employees while launching live satellite television news broadcasts to Ukraine and Russia. These programs, designed to overcome Vladimir Putin’s internal media censorship and his restrictions on local VOA rebroadcasting in Russia and to promote press freedom during the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, placed heavy additional work demands on many employees. Yet both employees and their union worked harmoniously with the management and helped to start both programs in record time.

Unfortunately, in later years, as Mr. Shamble observed, International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and Voice of America executives chose a path of confrontation in dealing with the union, employees, and the agency’s underpaid and exploited contractors. As Mr. Shamble also correctly points out, this has resulted in a crisis of employee morale and failures in carrying out the mission. He is also correct in defending the active and positive role of many members of Congress who support U.S. international broadcasting (multimedia) and are unhappy with mismanagement at the agency,” Lipien said.

CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan expressed support for management reforms initiated recently at IBB by the BBG Board under its new Chairman Jeff Shell. CUSIB remains hopeful that further reforms at IBB and the Voice of America will result in changing the agency’s management culture.

CUSIB also welcomes Chairman Shell’s strong statements on the importance of creating a positive work environment for employees at this very important public institution devoted to providing uncensored news, defending media freedom abroad, and informing the world about America.

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to strengthen free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted and developing media environments. CUSIB supports journalism in defense of media freedom and human rights by the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio and TV Marti, Radio Sawa, Alhurra TV and other U.S. taxpayer-funded media programs for international audiences produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). We are working to make these programs more effective and better managed. CUSIB also advocates for better working conditions for broadcasters and other media professionals delivering news to countries without media freedom and defends their journalistic independence.

For further information, please contact:
Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Tel. 646-251-6069
Ted Lipien, co-founder
Tel. 415-793-1642