BBG Watch Commentary

After several months of absence from private blogging on international broadcasting, Kim Andrew Elliott an audience research analyst in the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), posted his commentary on a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. taxpayer-funded media targeting foreign audiences. In it, Elliott, wrote that the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Ed Royce (R-CA) included in his opening statement at the hearing “misinformation [emphasis added] about the Voice of America.”

Andrew Kim Elliot questioned Congressman Royce’s comment about distinctions between Voice of America and surrogate broadcasters.

U.S. REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA) “While the Voice of America aims to provide listeners with objective news and information about United States foreign policy, the so-­‐called “surrogate” broadcasters such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty beam news into closed societies, offering information those citizens are otherwise denied.”

See: U.S. Rep. Ed Royce draws a clear distinction between Voice of America and surrogate broadcasters, BBG Watch.

Andrew Kim Elliott wrote that “anyone who has listened to VOA knows that its content is not limited to US foreign policy.” Being a strong opponent of independent surrogate broadcasting and a supporter of eliminating such broadcasts by merging them into Voice of America (VOA), Kim Andrew Elliott added: “Such misinformation about VOA is persistent. … It was on such faulty premises about VOA [emphasis added] that Radio Free Asia [emphasis added] was created in 1996.”

Sources told BBG Watch that Radio Free Asia journalists, who believe in their distinct mission and surrogate media specialization, were upset by Kim Andrew Elliott’s comments. They were wondering to what extent his views are his own and to what extent they might also reflect the views of his IBB top bosses, sources told BBG Watch.

Article by former Voice of America (VOA) journalist Gary Thomas in Columbia Journalism Review on journalistic practices at VOA and management of U.S. international broadcasting within the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).These questions were raised, sources told us, because critics of the IBB and VOA management who publish their views usually meet with instant retaliation or instant rebukes. In a recent comment posted on the Columbia Journalism Review website, a spokesman for Voice of America Director David Ensor, Mr. Kyle King, accused a former VOA senior correspondent, Mr. Gary Thomas, of errors and malice in Thomas’ article critical of the agency’s management. The VOA management refused to answer Thomas’ questions for the article. Others who criticized IBB or VOA management have also been attacked by agency spokesmen.

We do not know what caused a pause in Andrew Kim Elliott’s private blogging. With its resumption, he still claims that views he expresses in his blog are entirely his own. He has not complained on his website about any criticism or retaliation from IBB executives who are his bosses. His private website includes the following disclaimer:

“In this website, views expressed by Kim Andrew Elliott are his own and not necessarily those (in fact probably are not those) of his employer, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, or its parent agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors”

READ MORE: The Battle for the Soul of U.S. International Broadcasting by Kim Andrew Elliott.

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