CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan on USAGM’s Voice of America China Coverage

Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the independent and non-partisan Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB)spoke on Wednesday in Washington, D.c. at the open meeting of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Board which oversees the work of the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA).

ANN NOONAN, CUSIB EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Good morning on this 9-11 anniversary, a most somber day that calls us as Americans to know how one day can change the world.

Hong Kong is at a breaking point, yearning for the freedoms that we here in the US often take for granted. Thanks to brave journalists, the plea for help from Hong Kongers is being heard.

We know about Hong Kong Students who have initiated petitions and rallies against the proposed extradition law as they seek political reform to achieve universal suffrage.

The efforts of pro-democracy students in Hong Kong have been joined by thousands of Hong Kong Mothers who gathered in solidarity, 2 million Hong Kong residents who have peacefully marched in their streets, residents and more students who have formed human chains throughout Hong Kong, and Civil servant workers, counselors, care givers and therapists from social work organizations and religious groups who have taken part by striking.

Hong Kongers have been singing their hearts out with the Christian hymn “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” Les Mis’ “Do you Hear the People Sing” and recently “Glory to Hong Kong.”

They have even been singing the “Star Spangled Banner.”

A bloody eye patch has become a Hong Kong symbol in tribute to a protestor who was shot in the eye. Reports of Hong Kong’s brutal police force that has used rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, blue dye in water cannons, and beating people, including the elderly, and even defenseless children, has become too much to bear.

Hong Kong needs our help. Their own residents are at our door asking.

It needs this country to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

Reports from this agency should be supporting this effort, not giving an equal voice to Carrie Lam, as has been done in at least one of VOA Chinese September 9th social media postings that only offered her anti-USA message. Nothing else in that posting even mentioned the voice of Hong Kongers, or American legislators who initiated the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

USAG’s mission as soft power needs to be used properly.

During the Tiananmen Square massacre, Chinese students could rely upon VOA to cover their message without giving equal time or any time to the oppressors. If Carrie Lam needs to be quoted, can’t VOA say how this relates back to the CCP’s own propaganda to divert attention from the suppression of basic human rights in Hong Kong?

This is but one example of how and why the VOA China Branch needs a clear vision and understanding of their role during this critical time.

As efforts to cover Hong Kong become more and more demanding, the VOA Cantonese service staffs are rotating to join the Mandarin TV team in Hong Kong for the one hour daily program operation. More VOA resources need to be in place, as they were in 30 years ago in Tiananmen Square.
Finally, VOA Cantonese Service still needs a chief.

Thank you.

Leave a Comment