The nongovernmental and independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting has issued a strong statement in opposition to the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ plans to eliminate or reduce news and information programs to Tibet, China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and to other countries without free media.
February 17, 2012
For Immediate Release
Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting Opposes Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Budget Proposal for FY2013
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has issued the following statement after a careful review of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ 161-page Budget Proposal for FY2013:
“The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting is outraged by the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Budget for FY2013 that proposes to cut and reduce Voice of America (VOA) English and foreign language programs and positions, as well as programs and positions at Radio Free Asia (RFA) and at other U.S. government-funded international broadcasting entities managed by the BBG.
We oppose the BBG’s efforts to eviscerate core news services provided by the Voice of America and other broadcasters while using U.S.-taxpayer resources to inflate the ranks of the BBG management.
The VOA Tibetan Service was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on February 16, 1990 ‘to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.’ Less than one year ago the Voice of America was celebrating the importance of Tibetan radio broadcasts, marking the 20th anniversary of the first VOA Tibetan radio program.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors now wants to eliminate completely these critical radio broadcasts from their budget and leave funding only for a television program which most people in Tibet are unable to receive. This BBG action would defeat the purpose of the Federal law sponsored by Rep. Dante B. Fascell (Public Law No: 101-246) which established the VOA Tibetan Service.
We also adamantly oppose the BBG’s plans to cut the entire VOA Cantonese Service, which includes the VOA Cantonese weekly program, ‘American Report’ viewed in Cantonese‐speaking areas of China.
We expect that there will be a public outcry for these services to remain. Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Burma, Georgia, Greece, Laos, Russian Federation, Turkey and Vietnam are some of the other countries to which the BBG wants to reduce information programs. The Caucasus region, including Chechnya, and Central Asia are also targeted by the BBG for program cuts and reductions.
CUSIB also questions the BBG’s ‘over-arching strategic objective … (T)o become the world’s leading international news agency by 2016…’ This proposal also seems to be in direct conflict with Congressional intent as it will divert scarce resources from serving those who are most desperate to receive uncensored news and information.
In a memo to BBG staff, the BBG wrote: ‘We realize that some of these proposed changes will create anxiety.’ On the contrary, these BBG proposed changes will re-ignite passion of every journalist and human rights activist and incite and re-inspire them to preserve those programs that support journalism for media freedom and human rights.”
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:
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB)
New York, New York
Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Ted Lipien, co-founder and Director
Text of Public Law 101-246 establishing the Voice of America Tibetan Service:
SEC. 234. VOICE OF AMERICA BROADCASTS TO TIBET.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF SERVICE- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the United States Information Agency shall establish through the Voice of America, a service to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.
(b) AMOUNT OF PROGRAMMING- For each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991, programming broadcasts to the people of Tibet pursuant to this section shall occur for not less than two hours each day.
(c) REPORT- As soon as possible in the fiscal year 1990, the Director of the United States Information Agency shall submit to the Congress a comprehensive written report detailing the implementation of the programming provided for in this section.
(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- In addition to funds otherwise available under subsection (e), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Voice of America for purposes of carrying out this section $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991.
(e) TRANSFER AUTHORITY- The Director of the United States Information Agency may transfer to Voice of America Tibet Service such amounts appropriated for the `Television and Film Service’ for each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991 as exceed the amounts authorized to be appropriated for each such fiscal year for such Service.
SEC. 235. VOICE OF AMERICA’S THAILAND RADIO FACILITIES.
The Director of the United States Information Agency may enter into a contract for the construction of the Voice of America’s Thailand radio facilities for periods not in excess of 5 years or delegate such authority to the Corps of Engineers of the United States Department of the Army if there are sufficient funds to cover at least the Government’s liability for payments for the fiscal year in which the contract is awarded plus the full amount of estimated cancellation costs.
SEC. 236. VOICE OF AMERICA BROADCASTS TO THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
For each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991, the Voice of America shall provide not less than 12 hours of programming each day for the People’s Republic of China.
SEC. 237. VOICE OF AMERICA EQUIPMENT ABROAD.
It is the sense of the Congress that the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America should take every step necessary to ensure that existing Voice of America equipment abroad is properly maintained and enhanced to prevent deterioration.
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