CUSIB Emphasizes the Need for Congress to Hold Hearings to Protect Voice of America Journalists from Retaliation

Ann Noonan and Ted Lipien at BBG Miami Meeting, June 20, 2014

For Immediate Release

May 1, 2017

 

CUSIB Emphasizes the Need for Congress to Hold Hearings to Protect Voice of America Journalists from Retaliation

 

The Committee for US International Broadcasting has released the following statement:

 

“The Committee for US International Broadcasting emphasizes our request for the US Congress to hold hearings to investigate who, inside the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), demanded for the widely-publicized VOA Mandarin Service interview on April 19 of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui to be cut short after 1 hour and 17 minutes.

 

More information has come to our attention, disclosing how 5 journalists involved in the actual production of this interview with Guo Wengui have had their credentials removed and have been placed on Administrative Duty, pending investigation. One reporter was actually removed from the building by security.

 

We have further learned that VOA Director Amanda Bennett has called for an emergency staff meeting with Mandarin Services at 11:30am on May 2.

 

CUSIB is hopeful that the labor union representing these workers will be able to attend that meeting.

 

We remain concerned that VOA management and BBG officials may be trying to scapegoat their lower end employees, the journalists. We are calling upon all BBG Governors to review these matters and protect the journalists from retaliation and find out who in the chain of command of management ordered this interview to be cut. We has been informed that VOA Director Amanda Bennett was behind the decision to cut short the interview and to limit the scope of questions.

 

CUSIB fears that the Management is not going to apologize for their actions against the journalists, and instead, they will punish them.

 

BBG CEO John Lansing gave a tepid response on the topic to Frank Sesno during a World Press Freedom Day event at George Washington University. Lansing made no mention of the plight of any journalists who are under scrutiny and have been placed on Administrative Duty during a BBG investigation. He merely stated that he was gathering information. Lansing also mentioned that one hour of live interview was plenty.

 

CUSIB believes that until a Congressional investigation is held, Voice of America’s reputation will never be the same.”

 

For further information please contact Ann Noonan at (646) 251-6069 or Ted Lipien at (415) 793-1642

 

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to strengthen free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted and developing media environments. CUSIB supports journalism in defense of media freedom and human rights by the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio and TV Marti, Radio Sawa, Alhurra TV and other U.S. taxpayer-funded media programs for international audiences produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). We are working to make these programs more effective and better managed. CUSIB also advocates for better working conditions for broadcasters delivering news to countries without media freedom and defends their journalistic independence.

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