BBG Watch Commentary

Showing zero sensitivity toward anti-regime protesters in Iran who demand regime change and hope for a secular democratic government, editors at U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) have posted yet another one-sided report with Iranian regime propaganda without any mention of the protesters’ actual demands. The report on the VOA News English website does not acknowledge that regime reform is not what the latest protests are about and what the protesters want. A long list of slogans from the latest protests in Iran translated into English does not show a single one calling for regime reform; many call for regime change.

This time VOA used a one-sided AFP report, but previously VOA has posted its own reports in which Iranian regime’s propaganda, including disinformation and outright lies, were presented at length with hardly any balance or challenge from VOA reporters and editors. These earlier VOA reports were met with highly critical comments from anti-regime Iranians who find them insensitive, discouraging and helpful to the Iranian regime and its propaganda.

VOA also posted partly one-sided report from Reuters: “Iran’s Rouhani: Trump ‘Failed to Undermine Nuclear Deal’.” While the Reuters’ report mentioned President Trump’s objections to the Iran nuclear deal, it did not explain what they are.

The VOA Charter requires VOA news to be accurate, balanced, comprehensive and to present U.S. policies clearly and effectively. Neither the AFP report nor the Reuters report used by VOA met these standards which are mandated by U.S. law. While AFP and Reuters don’t have to meet these standards, the Voice of America is required to meet them.

Kenneth R. Timmerman, an American expert on Iran who has been critical of VOA and its parent federal agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and was being mentioned as one of the candidates to lead the BBG in the Trump administration, tweeted: “Another clueless report from #VOANews.”