BBG Watch Commentary

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
The following article by Bridget Johnson was posted on PJ Media website:

READ: Obama Administration Wants to Ax Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Balkans, Iraq

The article mentions a letter to Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Jeff Shell from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) who questions the proposed cuts.

BBG Watch reported that the cuts proposals were initiated not by Shell, who is new to the BBG, but by the permanent executive staff of the BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau who in order to preserve their own positions and budget intact have been getting successive BBG boards to agree to cuts in programs and programming positions.

BBG Watch also reported that proposals to cut programs to areas of strategic interest to the U.S. have gotten the BBG in trouble with members of Congress on previous occasions. IBB executives even proposed to cut broadcasts to Tibet and China. Cuts in programs to Tibet and China were rejected by Congressional committees.

BBG Watch sources hope that this practice and IBB’s constant bureaucratic expansion might end under the new chairman. IBB has the largest portion (34%) of the BBG budget and has increased the number of positions by 37% during the last seven years while BBG’s broadcasting entities experienced major cuts. IBB does not produce any news or programs but functions as a support service. It is in fact a large and constantly growing bureaucracy. Shell has already initiated a management change at IBB.

BBG Watch reported on these developments in two recent articles:

Congressman Hultgren urges BBG not to cut RFE/RL broadcasts to Iraq and the Balkans, BBG Watch, March 14, 2014.

Wicker pushes to keep foreign radio services open — IBB wants them cut to keep its own budget and positions, BBG Watch, March 12, 2014.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) also wrote a letter to the BBG, Bridget Johnson reported in her article.