Ann Noonan BBG Meeting March 14 2018

Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the independent NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – spoke at the open board meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) held in Washington, DC on March 14, 2018. In her remarks to the board and the public, Noonan raised the issue of potential conflicts of interest among BBG and Voice of America (VOA) officials and executives who may have corporate or family business interests in China. Noonan said that “Tibetans and Uyghurs are subject to unspeakable genocidal crimes and one of their only voices is Radio Free Asia” (RFA).

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My name is Ann Noonan and I honored to serve as the Executive Director for the Committee for US International Broadcasting.

CUSIB has no budget. We are an all-volunteer non-profit organization that continues to support journalism for media freedom and human rights.

Our organization was formed seven years ago when the BBG planned to eliminate Cantonese and Tibetan Services.

This year, CUSIB is again asking for assurance by the BBG Governors that the budget will not include any reduction or elimination of Voice of America’s Mandarin, Cantonese and Tibetan Services, including short wave and medium wave radio, television and internet services.

We would like to know the status of BBG management to finally hire a VOA Chinese Branch Chief, and projections about the hiring process for the new Cantonese and Mandarin Service Chief. This will affect the operation and long term planning for both VOA’s Cantonese and Mandarin Services to counterbalance China’s propaganda machine. People in Hong Kong and China know the VOA brand name and know how VOA represents the opinion from the United States.

It is important to remember that Voice of America broadcast services are separate and distinct from the surrogate broadcasting provided by Radio Free Asia.

As China’s government continues to commit unspeakable crimes against Tibetans and Uyghurs, it is necessary for Radio Free Asia’s funding and support to increase.

I’d like to speak a little about concerns that may exist regarding any possible conflicts of interest that could impact decision-making and the quality of the content of broadcasting here at the BBG.

These include how decisions are made, about who should be interviewed, who should be hired or fired, and how much funding from the overall BBG Budget is taken from journalists and put into administrative processes.

If there are any BBG Governors or persons in management at the BBG who have business investments in China, who are accountable to shareholders invested in China, or whose spouses may have investments in China, I wonder if you will refuse to turn a blind eye to the oppression and genocide against Tibetans and Uyghurs.

While Tibetans and Uyghurs are subject to unspeakable genocidal crimes and one of their only voices is Radio Free Asia, are you too aligned with the authorities who allow these atrocities to occur? Are any of you unwilling to criticize China’s government because of its economic power?

Sadly, I believe that what the Uyghur and Tibetan people are experiencing now is the future that China’s Underground Catholics face.

Are any BBG Governors and management unwilling to distance themselves from Islamophobia which is rampant in the XinJiang Autonomous Region, where China’s government has detained hundreds of thousands of innocent Uyghurs in detention camps, arrested RFA sources who are suppressed and targeted for daring to speak out about human rights matters, and the loved ones of Uyghur journalists who work at RFA?

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