CUSIB calls radio the best countermeasure to Internet censorship and spying on netizens in China

Ann Noonan at Defend Hong Kong Democracy Press Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CUSIB - Supporting journalism for media freedom and human rights

September 2, 2014

 

Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the independent NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) spoke Monday, September 1, at a press conference in New York’s Chinatown organized by U.S. supporters of democracy in Hong Kong and throughout the rest of China.

Ann Noonan made a strong appeal to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, (BBG), the U.S. federal agency in charge of U.S. international media outreach, not to cut short wave and medium wave radio broadcasts to China and Tibet.

Ann Noonan also made a point that radio is the best countermeasure to Internet censorship and spying on netizens in China.

“Listening to radio is anonymous and safe , while the Internet can and is being selectively blocked and censored, and the Internet and its users are constantly monitored by the Chinese government,” Ann Noonan said.

“As we in the United States of America witness what may be a huge step backward in Hong Kong’s constitutional and democratic development, let’s move forward in our effort to provide excellent broadcast services to those in need,” Ann Noonan concluded.

CUSIB is also strongly supportive of satellite television broadcasts to China and Tibet and of all initiatives, including radio and satellite TV, designed to circumvent the Chinese government’s censorship of the Internet. For hundreds of millions of people in China who have no Internet and no satellite TV access, radio is the only medium providing uncensored news in relative safety thanks to U.S. taxpayer-funded broadcasts by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA).

The press conference in New York, at which Ann Noonan spoke on behalf of the Laogai Research Foundation and the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, was covered by the Voice of America Cantonese Service.

CUSIB EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ANN NOONAN AT A HONG KONG DEMOCRACY PRESS CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 1, 2014

Today I am here in two capacities. One, as a Board Member of Harry Wu’s Laogai Research Foundation, and the other, as the Executive Director of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting.

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting is an independent, nongovernmental organization which supports free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries without free media.

While it was no surprise that Beijing wants to compromise democracy in Hong Kong, yesterday was an especially dark day for Hong Kong’s democratic movement.

In the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, China’s government made a promise to the people of Hong Kong that there would be a constitutional principle called “one country, two systems.” This carefully worded document allowed for Hong Kong to retain its own economic and political system.

The White Paper that Beijing issued this past June certainly undermined the rule of law in Hong Kong. The promise of “Hong Kong people running Hong Kong with a high level of autonomy” has been replaced by new precepts like: “complete jurisdiction,” “oversight by the Central Government,” and “judges must be patriotic. ”

Among the many statements made after China’s powerful National People’s Congress Standing Committee broke its promise and ruled out open elections in Hong Kong, there were strong words by Emily Lau, one of Hong Kong’s Democratic Leaders, that impressed me the most:

She said: “We will veto this revolting proposal.”

and

“This is one person, one vote, but there is no choice. They have that in North Korea but you can’t call it democracy.”

As the people of Hong Kong embark on an era of peaceful civil disobedience, CUSIB urges the Broadcasting Board of Governors to dismiss any plans to eliminate short wave and medium wave radio to China and Tibet. The very mission of the Broadcasting Board of Governors is to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.

During these next few months, there will be a great need for Hong Kongers, Mainland Chinese, and Tibetans to continue to receive news about Occupy Central and Hong Kong’s efforts toward universal suffrage. There will be a great need for Hong Kongers, Mainland Chinese and Tibetans to receive news about constitutional developments in Hong Kong.

We all know that radio can be a lifeline for poor people in many places in the world where they don’t have access to television, Internet access, or electricity. Radio is cheap, and unlike internet users, radio listeners cannot be tracked and monitored.

It is so important to note that people who cannot afford cell phones or who do not have access to the Internet rely heavily upon radio broadcasts for their information.

This is crucially important — listening to radio is anonymous and safe , while the Internet can and is being selectively blocked and censored, and the Internet and its users are constantly monitored by the Chinese government.

Shortwave and medium wave radio still serve as a lifeline to millions of families. This is not the time for US bureaucrats at the Broadcasting Board of Governors to even consider reducing or eliminating broadcast services. In fact, it is time to increase funding for short wave and medium wave radio to China and Tibet.

We adamantly object to any plans by the Broadcasting Board of Governors to comply with suggestions or requests to cut or eliminate funding from Voice of America’s and Radio Free Asia’s shortwave or medium wave radio broadcast services to China and Tibet. Cuts to these radio broadcasts will effectively undermine the purpose of several Congressional mandates to inform the people in China and Tibet by providing them with news broadcasts that promote freedom and democracy.

As we in the United States of America witness what may be a huge step backward in Hong Kong’s constitutional and democratic development, let’s move forward in our effort to provide excellent broadcast services to those in need.

Thank you.

For further information, please contact:

Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Tel. 646-251-6069

Ted Lipien, co-founder and Director
Tel. 415-793-1642

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) is an independent, nongovernmental organization which supports free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries without free media.

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