BBG Watch Commentary
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has introduced a resolution urging that the Broadcasting Board of Governor (BBG) to start broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Azeri to Iran and Baloch to both Iran and Pakistan. He is also reported to be highly frustrated with the BBG’s bureaucracy in the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) for cutting programs despite being given more money by Congress in previous years.
The proposed resolution is a “Sense of the House” measure — expressing the wishes of the House of Representatives, but it would not become law requiring the BBG to take these actions.
BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives, who had been criticized before by other members of Congress of ignoring Congressional directives, would be wise, however, to listen to Rep. Rohrabacher. The same executives have been responsible over the years for cutting broadcasts to many critical areas and proposing to cut broadcasts to many others, including Iran, China, Tibet, Russia, as well as Chechnya, the ancestral homeland of the Boston terror bombings suspects.
Rep. Rohrabacher’s resolution was referred to the authorizing committee of which he is a member. There is no separate provision for funding the new services.
Rep. Rohrabacher has been a strong supporter of U.S. international broadcasting but also a strong critic of the IBB senior staff. He has been an outspoken advocate for human rights and democracy around the world
Sources told BBG Watch Rep. Rohrabacher is extremely concerned that IBB executives are cutting and weakening broadcasts to critical and dangerous parts of the world despite having received more money from Congress in previous, due in large part to his earlier efforts, and being specifically told by members of Congress not to cut any more programs.
Sources told us that Rep. Rohrabacher feels his support for U.S. broadcasts is being thwarted by the agency’s bureaucrats. He blames them for cutting programs and weakening news, information and commentary instead of making them stronger and more effective in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and Russia.
Sources described Rep. Rohrabacher’s frustration with the agency’s International Broadcasting Bureau executive staff and Voice of America leadership, as enormous. Most presidentially-appointed members of the BBG Board are equally frustrated by IBB officials who are being protected by IBB Director Richard Lobo. Due to mysterious and prolonged absence of BBG Interim Presiding Governor Michael Lynton, who has not attended any BBG board meetings since January, other BBG members are unable to proceed with reforming the bureaucracy due to a lack of quorum.
- Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should broadcast and direct Azeri language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and Baloch language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.