BBG Watch Commentary

“Out of the 5 senior VOA Mandarin Service journalists who were placed on administrative leave 4 months ago, 4 remain on administrative leave with no hope of returning to work. Despite the fact that none have been charged with wrongdoing, they are still paying for their own attorneys to represent them.”

“In response to reports about one VOA reporter who wore a white flower, like this one, on April 20, and who was interrogated by BBG Human Resources for wearing the flower, we urge all BBG Governors to insist that BBG and VOA management discontinue any and all intimidating practices against their workers.” — Ann Noonan, CUSIB Executive Director, August 30, 2017.

“My name is Sasha Gong. I am one of the “Mandarin Five” who is placed on administrative leave. I first want to thank my colleagues who have been supporting us all along. As we often say, you don’t know how many friends you have until you are in need. Thank you. I am proud of you. I love you.” — Dr. Sasha Gong, VOA Mandarin Service Chief (on forced administrative leave with pay), June 14, 2017.

“Immigrants from China like us have experienced a great deal in our lives. We survived dictatorship, political persecution, and government violence. We appreciate liberty, and understand that we must keep fighting for it. If we don’t fight, the erosion of freedom will happen in the hands of the powerful. So, to many Chinese-Americans, our fight is their fight. We have their support.” Dr. Sasha Gong, VOA Mandarin Service Chief (on forced administrative leave with pay), August 13, 2017.

“My name is Huchen Zhang, and I am a senior editor at VOA Mandarin Service. I have worked for VOA for 26 years and I believe I have served VOA honorably. Unfortunately, I am one of the five journalists who have been placed on administrative leave because of the Guo Wengui interview.”

“My heart is heavy that the whole thing has come to this stage. I am particularly sad about the damage that has occurred to the credibility and reputation of VOA, especially VOA Mandarin broadcasting. I believe the interview itself and the investigations afterwards could have been handled much differently.” — Huchen Zhang, Senior Editor, VOA Mandarin Service, June 14, 2017.

Voice of America management also retaliated against some of the VOA Mandarin Service freelancers who asked for more answers about the shortening of the VOA Guo Wengui interview.

Former New York Times Beijing Bureau employee Zhao Yan told members of the board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) agency, the Voice of America director Amanda Bennett and other BBG and VOA executives on August 30, 2017 that “the truth is the life of news.”

Zhao Yan said that his right of free speech in America was denied when his freelance contract was ended by the Voice of America management after he had participated in a peaceful pro-free media protest together with other Chinese Americans in front of the VOA building in Washington, DC.

Monday, September 4 is observed in the United States as Labor Day. Voice of America employees are showing their solidarity with the VOA Mandarin Five and VOA China Branch freelancers who have suffered reprisals from the management in the aftermath of the Guo Wengui interview incident.

Let these VOA Mandarin journalists know that they will not be forgotten.

Contributions to VOA5 Justice can be made HERE.