BBG Watch Commentary

Ukraine FlagAccording to Washington Examiner and The Hill articles, bipartisan legislation to aid Ukraine and levy sanctions against Russia for its invasion and disputed annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region includes a provision to “increase broadcasts by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America into eastern Ukraine — including Crimea — and targeted ethnic Russian communities.”

American Federation of Government Employees, AFGE Local 1812, which represents federal employees of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), has been urging members of Congress to fund Voice of America radio broadcasts to Ukraine which had been cut several years on the recommendation of the BBG’s executive staff in the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). The same staff recommended more recently cutting Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Radio Free Iraq (RFI) broadcasts to Iraq and RFE/RL’s broadcasts to the Balkans.

Members of Congress have written letters to the BBG to reject these recommendations from IBB executives. According to sources, wording in the proposed legislation includes maintaining RFE/RL’s Balkan Service broadcasts. Sources hope that Radio Free Iraq will also receive relief from members of Congress.

Sources also informed us that Fox News had a report on the proposal to cut Radio Free Iraq.

House Ukraine bill excludes controversial IMF reforms, Washington Examiner, March 21, 2014.

A struggle to resolve Ukraine impasse, The Hill, March 23, 2014.