BBG Watch Commentary

anonymous surferOne of BBG Watch contributors, Jane Doe, who because of her sensitive position within the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) – the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) bureaucracy prefers to remain anonymous, has prepared for us and for the BBG Board a series of analyses of the IBB – BBG debacles. We started with IBB – BBG Debacles – Legal by Jane Doe, IBB – BBG Debacles – Management by Jane Doe and IBB – BBG Debacles – Anti-Reform Act folks by Jane Doe. Today we continue with:

IBB – BBG Debacles – Facts and Fiction about H.R. 4490 by Jane Doe

“You’re not the Boss of me!” BBG staff to Federal Courts, Federal Arbitrators, OPM, OMB and Congress!!! (oh wait,… you ARE the boss of me – my bad)

Here’s some FACT to consider when drowning in the FICTION:

The bipartisan Bill — Royce -Engel U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Legislation – H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act — is trying to guide the VOA back to its origins and away from the digression into “all news for all people” or “full service news network” that has caused duplication, inefficiencies, conflicts, conflicts of interest and worse, hiring a huge federal group of workers who want to do surrogate work NOT VOA Charter work – many of whom have been hired illegally and/or abused in violation of labor laws (see above). Moreover the Bill is trying to rationalize the management behemoth that is literally making up more work for it to be in charge of so that it can justify its growth. (only in the federal government….)

The Bill is not trying to change anything about how VOA does its work, but rather providing much-needed clarification of the original Charter.

The Bill is trying to change how the IBB approaches its work – in as much as it drives the IBB to become …[wait for it…] and cost-efficient. [cue the gasp]

The FNN is not an easy task – but they seem willing to suck it up because it will make a better corporation in the long-run. The Congress intended for the surrogates to have the flexibility and business savvy to compete in the private sector. All obstacles to that success have been put forth by the IBB in its relentless attempt to control and micro-manage the private entities. Just a thought – maybe the BBG/IBB should try to fix its own house before they try to break what’s working well in the grantees.

Frankly, the USICA CEO and Board should not have any operational oversight at all over the FNN. Period. The micromanagement, non-stop IBB working groups and slowing the grantees down to the speed of the federal government is what the legislation is trying to end.

The concerns that the NSC or the SecState will tell VOA what to write is hyperbole and a scare-tactic. The ‘PROMOTING broad foreign policies” language is being exploited.

A legitimate concern is getting the survivor extraordinaires in the IBB upper management to follow the law.

A legitimate concern is for this agency to even consider the intent of Congress.

A legitimate concern is how to get the existing private corporate board members to relinquish their seats to the new FNN Board members in order for the grantees to move into their new organization.

More fun to come – you really can’t make this stuff up!

We’re not sure whether we will have another Jane Doe’s IBB – BBG Debacles before the Broadcasting Board of Governors Board meeting on June 20, in Miami, Florida, but anything is possible. We are at least hoping to have a commentary from her after the BBG Board meeting. Please keep checking our BBG Watch website for updates.

ALSO READ: IBB – BBG Debacles – Legal by Jane Doe, BBG Watch, June 16, 2014.

ALSO READ: IBB – BBG Debacles – Management by Jane Doe, BBG Watch, June 17, 2014.

ALSO READ: IBB – BBG Debacles – Anti-Reform Act folks by Jane Doe, BBG Watch, June 18, 2014.

READING MATERIAL (Optional, But Highly Recommended)

READ MORE: Waste and Abuse of Power at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, According to Audit, By Reid Standish, Foreign Policy Blog, June 17, 2014.

International Labor Rights Forum Charges Discrimination at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, BBG Watch, June 16, 2014.

READ: Federal Labor Relations Authority Judge slams BBG for law violations, BBG Watch, June 4, 2014.

READ: Federal court issues another rebuke to IBB officials accused of mistreating journalists, BBG Watch, May 19.

READ: Voice of America wasted estimated millions on improper contract payments, Radio Free Asia gets clean bill of health, BBG Watch, May 3, 2014.

READ: Protests from Helsinki Committee, bad publicity continue for RFE/RL over treatment of foreign journalist staff, BBG Watch, April 3, 2014.