BBG Watch Commentary
Ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, Voice of America Director David Ensor explains what press freedom means to him.
The question is what Voice of America can do, if not to support press freedom directly, then at least to provide high-quality news to support it.
How does Voice of America Director David Ensor explain this VOA zombie video for audiences Pakistan? Does it contribute to press freedom?
VOA executives claim that they knew nothing about this video and blame VOA journalists, but they did know about the VOA video from North Korea and videos about the British royal family and videos about Justin Bieber which replaced much of the serious news reporting Voice of America was once known for. The kind of management and leadership (or lack thereof) they have provided contributed to changing VOA from a news organization to a rudderless entity.
How does this VOA video with North Korean propaganda, which is barely challenged, and images of well-stocked stores and well-fed children (no doubt of the North Korean elite) in a country known for starvation, which is not mentioned, contribute to press freedom? (This video was produced before David Ensor assumed his position, but it was produced under the watch of his current management team, which even issued a press release bragging about it.)
Link to the video on YouTube.
Do multiple VOA reports (dozens if not hundreds if all translations into foreign languages are included) on the British royal wedding, the British royal baby christening, and Canadian pop-star Justin Bieber help to advance media freedom worldwide? (Some of them were produced under David Ensor’s watch and others under the watch of his current management team.)
IF YOU ARE A U.S. TAXPAYER YOU MUST CHECK THIS OUT
caption = VOICE OF AMERICA COVERAGE OF BRITISH ROYALS IN 2011 and 2013
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Excited Crowds Fill London Streets for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Royal Wedding Ceremony Steeped in Grandeur, Tradition Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Kate Middleton Wears Wedding Dress by Sarah Burton Voice of America (VOA) English Website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Wedding Celebrations Held in Streets Across Britain Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Americans Rise Early for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Celebrities, Sports Stars Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 28, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Hopes for Billion-Dollar Economic Boost from Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
Crowds Gather for Britain’s Royal Wedding; Syrian Diplomat Pulled Off Guest List Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
London Readies for Royal Wedding Day Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 27, 2011 8:00 PM
Formal Clothing, Informal Speeches Typical at British Weddings Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 26, 2011 8:00 PM
British Public Divided Over Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Preparing Security for Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Royal Wedding: From Cake to Clergy Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 25, 2011 8:00 PM
Bahrain Prince Declines British Royal Wedding Invitation Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM
David Beckham, Elton John Among Royal Wedding Guests Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 24, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain Notes Big Change in Royal Wedding Souvenirs Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 21, 2011 8:00 PM
Prince William, Bride-to-Be Middleton Visit Princess Diana’s Grave Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Queen Formally Approves Prince William’s Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Britain’s Queen Celebrates 85th Birthday Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:00 PM
Royal Wedding: William & Kate Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 20, 2011 8:50 AM
A Royal Obsession, Do Americans Care? Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 19, 2011 8:00 PM
Muslim Group Applies to Protest Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM
YouTube to Air Britain’s Royal Wedding Live Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 18, 2011 8:00 PM
Princesses in Training Get Tips at Royal Tea Party Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 17, 2011 8:00 PM
10 Ways You Can Get Into the Spirit of the Royal Wedding Voice of America (VOA) English website, April 14, 2011 8:00 PM
British Royal Engagement Sparks Interest in Modern Monarchies Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 29, 2010 7:00 PM
Britain Announces Royal Wedding Date Voice of America (VOA) English website, November 22, 2010 7:00 PM
VOA on British Royal Christening, October 2013
Among five reports on the VOA website on the royal christening in Britain posted on October 23 and 24, 2013, none has more than 20 Facebook “Likes” as of October 28, 2013, one had zero Facebook “Likes” and another one had three.
October 23, 2013 12:08 PM
……..was born on July 22. In the arms of his mother as she left the the palace’s Chapel Royal, George was dressed in a long cream satin robe that was a replica of an 1841 gown made for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. Kate, a style icon whose outfits often increase sales of similar garments, wore an off-white, ruffled skirt-suit, made by British fashion house Alexander McQueen, and pillbox hat by British milliner Jane Taylor ….
October 23, 2013 8:20 AM
……..William and Kate’s decision is a break with the tradition of choosing royal dignitaries to take on the ceremonial role, and a continuation of their effort to portray a more informal, modern image to austerity-hit Britons. After the christening, guests will attend a private tea at Clarence House, hosted by Prince Charles and Camilla. Hollywood photographer Jason Bell has been tapped to take official photos of the event, that will include a “historic multi-generational photograph” of the queen
Reporters: VOA News
October 23, 2013 12:14 AM
Carla Babb Prince George, the son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is being christened in Britain on Wednesday. In a break from tradition, the christening of the world’s most famous baby will be as low key as possible. Three months ago, Prince William and his wife Catherine shared their bundle of joy with the world. And just as the royal couple broke with tradition ….
Reporters: Carla Babb
October 22, 2013 9:59 AM
Reuters A British photographer known for his portraits of rock stars and Hollywood actors was named on Tuesday as the official photographer of the world’s newest celebrity – Prince George. Prince William and his wife Kate have chosen Jason Bell to photograph the christening on Wednesday, October 23, of their son, the third-in-line to the British throne, a palace statement said. Bell, 44, is an award-winning photographer best known for portraits of celebrities such as musician Paul McCartney, footballer David Beckham ….
October 23, 2013 12:19 PM
a central London chapel, where he made his first public appearance since his birth in July. Prince George was seen in the arms of his father, Prince William, as the elder prince and his wife Kate arrived at the Chapel Royal in St. James’s Palace for Wednesday’s traditional Anglican Christian ceremony. The infant was wearing a white satin gown, a replica of one made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841. In a private ceremony inside the chapel ….
Do short news items from Reuters on the VOA news website about major foreign policy speeches by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden help to inform worldwide audiences or would timely and longer VOA news reports, perhaps with multimedia content and some analysis, constitute a better use of U.S. taxpayers money.
May be Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Matt Armstrong was right when at the BBG Board meeting on December 18, 2013 he sharply questioned Director Ensor about serious inadequacies in VOA news coverage. The BBG is a bipartisan oversight board. It has a new energetic and reform-minded chairman Jeff Shell and some new members, including Matt Armstrong.
May be the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Ranking Member, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and a bipartisan group of other members of Congress are right in proposing a bill to reform the management of U.S. international media outreach, including the Voice of America.
Can anyone be surprised that in light of mismanagement of news reporting and VOA’s mission, members of Congress are demanding reforms? Had VOA been better managed, this reform legislation may not have been necessary. Some are afraid that it may limit journalistic independence, even though language from the VOA Charter is included in the bill, which has bipartisan support and was passed unanimously by the House Foreign Relations Committee.
David Ensor and his top deputies, as well as senior former executives of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), have no one by themselves to blame for this proposed reform legislation. While some are indeed concerned about VOA’s journalistic independence under this bill, the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member, Democrat Eliot Engel, dismisses these concerns.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): “Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this bill maintains the requirement that U.S.-funded programming serve as objective sources of news and information, and not simply as a mouthpiece for U.S. foreign policy. It’s absolutely critical that the news be accurate and seen as credible by the foreign audiences we’re trying to reach.”
VOA Director David Ensor once again.
Voice of America Director David Ensor explains what press freedom means to him.
We fully agree with the statements made by David Ensor in his video. It’s time to manage the Voice of America in such a way that VOA news reporting actually contributes to press freedom.