Members of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executive staff are reported to be deeply concerned about FOIA requests for their travel expenses, a source told BBG Watch.
There is a fear among IBB top officials that a public disclosure of hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on their domestic and international travels will raise further questions about their push to eliminate Voice of America (VOA) and other broadcasting services, involving over 200 hundred broadcasting jobs, while they protect their own bureaucratic positions and increase their non-programming operations and expenses. One of their main targets are VOA broadcasts to Tibet and China.
So far, most of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) members, who are their bosses, have tolerated the protection of the executive and bureaucratic BBG/IBB staff by eliminating broadcasting operations and positions, mostly at the Voice of America. IBB executives propose these cuts as cost-saving measures while leaving their positions and operations untouched.
BBG Watch has been told that one top-ranking IBB executive tried to get an NGO, which initiated of a FOIA request on travel costs, to expand it to cover the travels of BBG members. BBG Watch suspects that this highly unusual suggestion was designed to win the sympathy of BBG members for the IBB executive staff and to keep BBG members on their side. We were told that the NGO told the IBB official that for now it will focus only on the travels of IBB executives.