BBG’s Victor Ashe pushes for saving Voice of America and Radio Free Asia broadcasts

Victor H. Ashe

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Ambassador Victor Ashe has called the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) to express his appreciation for CUSIB’s pro-media freedom and human rights activities mentioned in a recent letter to the BBG from Annette Lantos, a human rights campaigner. Mrs. Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, is the wife of the late Congressman Tom Lantos and the Chairman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Ambassador Ashe told us that he shares Mrs. Lantos’ concerns about the proposed elimination of the Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet and shutting down of the VOA Cantonese Service.

Ambassador Ashe said that even prior to receiving Mrs. Lantos’ letter, he had raised similar concerns with Governors Michael Meehan and Enders Wimbush at the meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee that took place on April 10, 2012 at BBG Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Ambassador Ashe said that he specifically urged keeping Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcasts on the air.

“I cannot say the full committee agreed or disagreed. It is unclear. However, what I think is clear is that Congress will not allow this cut to take place,” he told CUSIB.

He also said that he strongly supports continued U.S. radio broadcasting to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

CUSIB Director Ted Lipien said that the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting welcomes Ambassador Ashe’s support for continued U.S. government-funded news broadcasting to nations without free media. We hope that other Broadcasting Board of Governors members will join Ambassador Ashe and reverse the proposed broadcasting cuts, Lipien said. CUSIB believes that these cuts disgrace America’s reputation as a champion of human rights, would undermine U.S. national security and harm countless individuals who depend on VOA and RFA for uncensored news and a message of hope and support from the American people.

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