A Guest Commentary by Edite Lynch

The role of the U.S. Congress must take precedence over any self-serving machinations by the executives of the BBG

Quo Vadis couldn’t have expressed the startling and incomprehensible actions of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) more expertly, notwithstanding the arguments put forth by the eminent Dr. Helle Dale on the blog of The Heritage Foundation. With one exception……this parade cannot be allowed to go on. See: Broadcasting Board of Governors executives plan an attack piece on Helle Dale’s criticism

The role of the U.S. Congress must take precedence over any self-serving machinations by the executives of the BBG. The elected representatives, not Presidential appointees being repaid for favours, should take serious hold of the reins and issue a directive that they will decide how America’s Public Diplomacy will be presented to the world, especially to the countries who need America’s voice the most, that being China and Tibet, as well as many others who rely on uncensored news from the Voice of America (VOA).

Given the bonuses, the international and domestic travel and substantial increases in positions and spending self-granted to executives of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), Congress needs to seriously question the strategic vision that seem decidedly lacking with this bunch of wonks.

How do they justify the ill-advised and ill-considered notions of truncating VOA broadcasting to the above mentioned countries, paying Gallup — another favour — $50,000,000 to do a polling exercise that will neither be correct, or received from truthful people for fear of being severely dealt with by their repressive regimes.

It is well known that China will block all Internet service from any American websites that talk about freedoms, human rights or individual liberties. Shortwave radio broadcasts are for now the only reliable and safe method of communication that will reach the Chinese people and give them some sort of hope for the future. This does not mean that Internet, other new media and satellite television efforts should not also be pursued, but the radio audience must not be abandoned and this safe method of communication that serves the most oppressed and the poorest must be used. And the Voice of America brand-name in radio and television in China must not be discarded.

These executives, who have been operating without any clear and substantial oversight from Congress that could end this ongoing silliness should be hauled up to the Capitol and their mandate should be unequivocally determined with a precise Mission Statement that leaves no room for inordinate activity which seriously harms the work of many dedicated and knowledgable broadcasters and journalists that have operated honorably for seventy years to bring uncensored news and hope of freedom to millions around the world.