BBG Watch Commentary
The Prague Freedom Foundation will present US Senator Roger Wicker with its first Defender of Freedom Award on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in Czechoslovakia, Radio Prague reported. Senator Wicker has been a strong supporter of U.S. international media outreach and has been pushing for management reforms at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which oversees Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), the Voice of America (VOA) and other civilian U.S. taxpayer-funded news organizations serving overseas audiences, mostly in countries without free or developed local media.
The Prague Freedom Foundation will honor Senator Wicker for his support for RFE/RL.
The award will be presented on November 17 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. where the Czech Philharmonic will perform at a commemorative concert in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the legacy of Václav Havel.
In March 2014, Senator Wicker, R-Miss., who is a leading Senator on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, urged the Broadcasting Board of Governors to continue operating Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Balkan Service and Radio Free Iraq.
In an opinion article published last April on FoxNews.com, “America must not retreat from Russia’s information war” Senator Wicker and Republican Representative Aaron Schock from Illinois questioned the overall U.S. international media outreach strategy.
“It is our hope that the BBG will reverse the decision to end news programming to the Balkans and Iraq. Cutting important communication to areas of the world where America’s interests are threatened weakens our position and that of our democratic allies. Any action to close these broadcast services should not take effect until the proper congressional oversight can adequately assess the consequences,” Senator Wicker and Rep. Schock wrote.
The BBG Board chaired by Jeff Shell preserved RFE/RL programs to the Balkans and Iraq. The BBG is expected to get soon its first CEO, distinguished journalist and media executive Andy Lack. He was selected by the BBG Board.
Senator Wicker has also expressed his support for management reforms contained in the bipartisan H.R. 4490 Royce – Engel U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Act which is now pending in the U.S. Senate after it was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee and passed by the House of Representatives.
Two former Broadcasting Board of Governors members, Ambassador Victor Ashe and Blanquita Cullum, had a meeting with Senator Wicker last summer to discuss the BBG reform bill. They were accompanied by Ted Lipien, a former Voice of America acting associate director and current director of the NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org).
US Senator Roger Wicker to get Defender of Freedom Award
The Prague Freedom Foundation will present US Senator Roger Wicker with its first Defender of Freedom Award on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution that toppled communism in Czechoslovakia. The Senator is being so honoured for his support for maintaining Radio Free Europe broadcasts to the western Balkans. The award is to be presented on November 17th at a concert of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Washington. It will be attended by the Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, and the former US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, among others.
The Embassy of the Czech Republic and the Prague Freedom Foundation will host the Czech Philharmonic for a commemorative concert in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the legacy of Václav Havel.
The concert will be held on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM in Washington, D.C. at the National Cathedral. The Czech Philharmonic will be performing Smetana’s Vltava, a symphonic poem from “My Country” and Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 “From the New World”.
To RSVP and obtain complimentary tickets please visit: http://www.pff-celebration-of-freedom.org/rsvp-tickets/
The Mission of the Prague Freedom Foundation is to promote independent journalism and free media globally. PFF provides financial support to individuals, public and private universities and organizations that promote freedom of the press and encourage independent journalism. The Prague Freedom Foundation office is located in the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. Visit their website: http://praguefreedom.org