BBG Watch Media
Nigerian media is reporting that Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on the Voice of America (VOA) to ensure a more balanced coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East by its Hausa Service. Meanwhile, a devastating criticism by an Nigerian of VOA Hausa Service in an open letter to President Obama was published by the Daily Trust newspaper. Voice of America managers deny these charges, calling them “unsubstantiated.”
Accusations of slanted and unprofessional reporting which helps Boko Haram terrorists were leveled against VOA during a visit to Nigeria by a joint Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Voice of America (VOA) delegation involved in training Nigerian journalists. The BBG is VOA’s oversight agency. President Obama recently talked about the need to counter the ideological threat from ISIL, but he did not mention the Broadcasting Board of Governors as having a role in that effort.
BBG officials deny that they are running “a broken agency,” a recent charge made by Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce and other committee members. On February 23, 2016, they issued a press release: “This Broken Agency is Losing the Info War to ISIS & Putin.” At the February 26, 2016 bimonthly public meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the acting chairman of the Board for that session, Michael Kempner, said that America’s publically-funded international broadcasting has seen “a whirlwind of positive change over the past six months.”
Many Voice of America journalists and outside experts disagree with that description. They point to persistent program quality, program support and employee morale problems, which are not limited only to VOA programming to Africa, but extend to programs to Russia and its periphery by both VOA and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), another BBG entity experiencing its own leadership and management problems.
A Wall Street Journal March 7 article noted that the Broadcasting Board of Governors shares the lowest spot in the job satisfaction and employee morale ranking by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to improve government efficiency.
Commenting on RFE/RL-VOA program to Russia’s periphery, which has received high praise from BBG executives, a European journalist and Russia expert said that “’Current Time’ is a cocktail of news presented as fast food served with plastic fork and spoon, instead of a gourmet meal and real silverware. And they don’t even have a Big Mac on the menu, just tasteless no name burgers fried by inexperienced cooks.”
SEE: Nigerian Government accuses Voice of America of helping Boko Haram terrorists with biased reporting, BBG Watch, March 8, 2016;
DailyPost Nigeria – Mar 8, 2016
“When I read the article (on the VOA coverage of Boko Haram), I said it could mean two things. One, that the Voice of America is still very relevant in Nigeria and, secondly, the perception out there is that the audience probably wants more of …
Leadership Newspapers – Mar 8, 2016
Alhaji Mohammed also lauded the VOA for expanding its reach through the social media. Responding, Mr Mengesha denied the allegation that the coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency by the VOA Hausa Service is slanted in favour of the insurgents.
Africa Independent Television – Mar 8, 2016
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has called on the Voice of America (VOA) to ensure a more balanced coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East by its Hausa Service. The Minister who received a delegation from …
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