BBG Watch Commentary
The independent NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) has called for the restoration of short wave and medium wave Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcasts which have been cut and will soon be cut to countries without free media in Asia, Middle East, and Europe (Belarus). CUSIB has also called for Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Matt Armstrong to step down as Chair of the BBG’s Special Committee on the Future of Shortwave Broadcasting in connection with how decisions about these cuts were made and how they were implemented, with audiences and VOA program hosts not being given adequate notice.
We also urge all concerned to reverse all recent cuts to Voice of America and Radio Free Asia short wave transmissions to Asia and the Middle East. The estimated savings of $1.6 million from these cuts can easily be found elsewhere in the BBG’s budget of over $700 million, including some $240 million controlled by the International Broadcasting Bureau, which does not produce any broadcasts but has cut many VOA, RFA, and RFE/RL transmissions and programming jobs while increasing its own IBB staff positions by nearly 40% in the last seven years. The poorest and the most oppressed audiences should not bear the cost of budget cuts. Program delivery should not be cut. Budget cuts should be taken out of the bureaucracy which has grown at the expense of programs and program delivery.