January 18, 2013
CUSIB Applauds Actions by BBG Members to Increase Transparency and Accountability
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting has released the following statement in response to the January 2013 Office of Inspector General Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors:
“The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) continues to maintain our support for transparency and accountability within the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), and we applaud the great strides made by the BBG during the past few months to review and address serious mishaps within the Agency.
CUSIB applauds the tremendous efforts of Governor Susan McCue who has been rightly praised for taking the lead on the selection of Kevin Klose to serve as Acting President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). International human rights leaders, democracy activists and journalists have been calling for a replacement of Steven Korn and a way forward from the incalculable damage he has done to Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, its mission and its staff. We remain hopeful that when Mr. Klose assumes his post on January 26, Governor McCue will continue to pursue her goal of restoring RFE/RL’s reputation and that the BBG Members will reinstate the brave and outstanding journalists who were sacked during the administration led by Steven Korn.
While we join the BBG’s public efforts to condemn media censorship, we are disappointed with the findings of the January 2013 OIG Report .
CUSIB is especially alarmed by sections of the January 2013 OIG Report with what are believed to be cryptic attacks on BBG Member Ambassador Victor Ashe. In an all too sloppy manner, the OIG decries actions by an unnamed Governor, yet mentions his earlier professional experience as a mayor of a city. The OIG’s pretense of maintaining the anonymity of Ambassador Ashe is insulting to the reader.
CUSIB takes exception with the following statement from the January 2013 OIG Report that sheepishly avoids the direct mention of Ambassador Ashe, and states: “But his interventions force Board attention onto relatively minor issues or management decisions with which he disagrees. On balance, his behavior has been a barrier to the Board’s ability to provide strategic guidance for U.S. international broadcasting.”
CUSIB’s careful review of the efforts of BBG Member Victor Ashe shows Governor Ashe demonstrates that his behavior and actions have been superb. Our findings show that Ambassador Ashe’s interventions have strengthened transparency and accountability at the BBG, highlighted serious employee morale issues, revealed waste of U.S. taxpayers money on contracts and travel, helped to reverse strategic errors in broadcasting to China, Tibet, and Russia, and continue to advance media freedom in nations where such freedoms are not always permitted. CUSIB is alarmed that the OIG has highlighted Ambassador Ashe’s use of parliamentary procedures during meeting as some sort of threat and as something improper, especially since it is used in all levels of U.S. Government. We are concerned as this section of the OIG Report reads like a political witch hunt, and we hope this is not the case.
CUSIB has been disappointed in the less than forthright manner in which some BBG business has been conducted in the past and how money in the agency is spent and/or wasted, but we remain assured that as the BBG opens its channels of communication in America’s Participatory Democracy, great things will be achieved. We believe that in the BBG – more than in any other federal agency – communication is key.”
For further information, please contact:
Ann Noonan, co-founder and Executive Director
Ted Lipien, co-founder
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.