BBG Watch Commentary
UPDATE: As of 2:00 AM EST Sunday, Voice of America is still not reporting on Secretary Kerry’s statement on Ukraine.
As of 12:15 AM EST, Sunday, March 2, U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) has not reported on Secretary of State John Kerry’s Saturday statement on Ukraine.
Secretary Kerry’s statement has been posted on the State Department website. A State Department tweet about the statement appeared a few minutes after 9:00 PM EST Saturday. As of 12:30 AM EST Sunday, there is no mention about the statement on the VOA English news website.
Websites of VOA’s Ukrainian and Russian services also show no reports on Secretary Kerry’s statement. It appears that no VOA language service is reporting on the statement on Ukraine from the U.S. Secretary of State nearly four hours after it has been released.
Secretary Kerry said that he had spoken with Ukraine’s President Turchynov Saturday morning “to assure him he had the strong support of the United States and commend the new government for showing the utmost restraint in the face of the clear and present danger to the integrity of their state, and the assaults on their sovereignty.”
The U.S. condemns the Russian invasion & occupation of Ukrainian territory, and violation of Ukrainian sovereignty : http://t.co/j7TzydySKe
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 2, 2014
VOA Homepage screenshot taken at 12:23 AM EST Sunday shows no reporting on Secretary Kerry’s statement or any links to reports about President Obama’s phone call with President Putin. While there are brief VOA reports on the Obama-Putin phone call inside the VOA website (filed late), there is no reporting on Secretary Kerry’s statement.
Ironically, the Kremlin’s voice, Voice of Russia, is reporting on Secretary Kerry’s statement: “Russia-US relations may worsen if Moscow launches military operation in Ukraine – Kerry,” Voice of Russia.
It appears that despite a major geopolitical crisis, VOA Director David Ensor and VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch made no arrangements to have VOA correspondents present on Saturday at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Congress. No Voice of America reports were posted on the VOA English website Saturday from these four locations.
Secretary Kerry is an ex officio member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which has oversight responsibilities in how U.S. taxpayer-funded international media outreach is managed. The BBG also hires and fires VOA director.
The Secretary of State is usually represented at BBG board meetings by the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Richard Stengel has recently taken over this position.
VOA English news service also did not have any reports Saturday on a statement on Ukraine from Senator John McCain, a statement from Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairman Congressman Jim Gerlach, and Friday’s statement from Senator Chris Murphy.
Secretary of State
March 1, 2014
The United States condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory, and its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity in full contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. This action is a threat to the peace and security of Ukraine, and the wider region.
I spoke with President Turchynov this morning to assure him he had the strong support of the United States and commend the new government for showing the utmost restraint in the face of the clear and present danger to the integrity of their state, and the assaults on their sovereignty. We also urge that the Government of Ukraine continue to make clear, as it has from throughout this crisis, its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and uphold its international obligations.
As President Obama has said, we call for Russia to withdraw its forces back to bases, refrain from interference elsewhere in Ukraine, and support international mediation to address any legitimate issues regarding the protection of minority rights or security.
From day one, we’ve made clear that we recognize and respect Russia’s ties to Ukraine and its concerns about treatment of ethnic Russians. But these concerns can and must be addressed in a way that does not violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, by directly engaging the Government of Ukraine.
Unless immediate and concrete steps are taken by Russia to deescalate tensions, the effect on U.S.-Russian relations and on Russia’s international standing will be profound.
I convened a call this afternoon with my counterparts from around the world, to coordinate on next steps. We were unified in our assessment and will work closely together to support Ukraine and its people at this historic hour.
In the coming days, emergency consultations will commence in the UN Security Council, the North Atlantic Council, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in defense of the underlying principles critical to the maintenance of international peace and security. We continue to believe in the importance of an international presence from the UN or OSCE to gather facts, monitor for violations or abuses and help protect rights. As a leading member of both organizations, Russia can actively participate and make sure its interests are taken into account.
The people of Ukraine want nothing more than the right to define their own future – peacefully, politically and in stability. They must have the international community’s full support at this vital moment. The United States stands with them, as we have for 22 years, in seeing their rights restored.