February 17, 2012
For Immediate Release
Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting Opposes Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Budget Proposal for FY2013
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has issued the following statement after a careful review of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ 161-page Budget Proposal for FY2013:
“The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting is outraged by the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Budget for FY2013 that proposes to cut and reduce Voice of America (VOA) English and foreign language programs and positions, as well as programs and positions at Radio Free Asia (RFA) and at other U.S. government-funded international broadcasting entities managed by the BBG.
We oppose the BBG’s efforts to eviscerate core news services provided by the Voice of America and other broadcasters while using U.S.-taxpayer resources to inflate the ranks of the BBG management.
The VOA Tibetan Service was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on February 16, 1990 ‘to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.’ Less than one year ago the Voice of America was celebrating the importance of Tibetan radio broadcasts, marking the 20th anniversary of the first VOA Tibetan radio program.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors now wants to eliminate completely these critical radio broadcasts from their budget and leave funding only for a television program which most people in Tibet are unable to receive. This BBG action would defeat the purpose of the Federal law sponsored by Rep. Dante B. Fascell (Public Law No: 101-246) which established the VOA Tibetan Service.
We also adamantly oppose the BBG’s plans to cut the entire VOA Cantonese Service, which includes the VOA Cantonese weekly program, ‘American Report’ viewed in Cantonese‐speaking areas of China.
We expect that there will be a public outcry for these services to remain. Afghanistan, Albania, Bangladesh, Burma, Georgia, Greece, Laos, Russian Federation, Turkey and Vietnam are some of the other countries to which the BBG wants to reduce information programs. The Caucasus region, including Chechnya, and Central Asia are also targeted by the BBG for program cuts and reductions.
CUSIB also questions the BBG’s ‘over-arching strategic objective … (T)o become the world’s leading international news agency by 2016…’ This proposal also seems to be in direct conflict with Congressional intent as it will divert scarce resources from serving those who are most desperate to receive uncensored news and information.
In a memo to BBG staff, the BBG wrote: ‘We realize that some of these proposed changes will create anxiety.’ On the contrary, these BBG proposed changes will re-ignite passion of every journalist and human rights activist and incite and re-inspire them to preserve those programs that support journalism for media freedom and human rights.”
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is an independent, nongovernmental organization which supports free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries without free media.
For further information, please contact:
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB)
New York, New York
Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Ted Lipien, co-founder and Director
February 17, 2012