BBG Watch Commentary

A group of Voice of America (VOA) Persian Service journalists has prepared a memorandum in which they decry what the employees see as a loss of VOA’s objectivity and mismanagement of human and capital resources by the service’s leadership, senior VOA executives and the top leaders of VOA’s parent federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Here is a portion of their memorandum:

In recent months, there has been a lot of negative coverage about VOA Persian. We work here and we also believe there are systemic problems; now is the right time to act because Iran is on the verge of titanic changes that could affect U.S. national security interests in the Middle East for generations to come. We believe that the problems with VOA Persian can be categorized under two separate, though interconnected, themes. The first is the loss of objectivity which makes us less credible as a source of news, and prevents us from advancing America’s policy interests. The second problem is mismanagement of VOA Persian resources, including funds, talent, and programming. Unless these issues are addressed, the U.S. government cannot restore this news organization to its rightful place among Persian international news media. On February 12, Rand Corporation’s Alireza Nader made this observation in a panel discussion at the Atlantic Council: “The U.S. government should reform Voice of America to adopt a position that is more in line with U.S. interests regarding Iran. Voice of America used to be [a] very influential news program in Iran. It no longer is. It has lost its influence.” We could not agree more.

Background information on the Iran expert Alireza Nader quoted in the memorandum of dissident VOA Persian Service journalists:

Alireza Nader is a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation and author of Iranian Domestic Challenges to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. His research has focused on Iran’s political dynamics, elite decisionmaking, and Iranian foreign policy. His commentaries and articles have appeared in a variety of publications and he is widely cited by the U.S. and international media. He has been interviewed on Al Arabiya; Al Jazeera; BBC; CBS; CNN; CNBC; C-SPAN; Fox News; Here and There, Santa Fe Public Radio; Huffington Post; IranWire; KCBS-AM San Francisco; KCRW To The Point; MSNBC; NPR; PBS NewsHour; Sirius XM; Voice of America. Nader holds an M.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University.