February 22, 2013
For Immediate Release
CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan Welcomes Appointment of Kevin Klose to Lead RFE/RL, Expresses Hope for Quick Return of Fired Journalists to Radio Liberty
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) Executive Director Ann Noonan welcomed the appointment of Kevin Klose to lead Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and called for the reinstatement of fired Radio Liberty journalists. She spoke Friday, February 22, 2013, in Washington, DC at the open board meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency which oversees Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and other taxpayer-funded U.S. international broadcasting and news operations for audiences overseas.
Ann Noonan expressed hope that RFE/RL will revise its personnel policies and will settle overseas discrimination lawsuits brought by former employees. She also mentioned the important work of CUSIB Advisory Board member, Ms. Jing Zhang, President of Women’s Rights in China, who was also present at the BBG meeting, and discussed the deteriorating political and human rights situation in China and Tibet.
Noonan said in response to the recent GAO Report suggesting duplication in U.S.-funded broadcasts that CUSIB remains determined to defend surrogate broadcasters and the VOA at the same time because each fulfills a different role and duplication is not an issue, whereas merging surrogate broadcasters and limiting their independence and autonomy would make them ineffective in serving audiences in closed societies.
Noonan also said that CUSIB remains ardently opposed to the OIG Report attacking the authority of BBG members and the tremendous efforts of BBG Governor Ambassador Victor Ashe who has made the agency relevant by insisting upon its adherence to its mission and good management.
Noonan praised BBG’s latest efforts for better management and greater transparency and for resolving the Radio Liberty crisis in Russia. She congratulated Radio Liberty employees and RFE/RL acting president Kevin Klose on the approaching 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty’s first broadcast.
Link to Video.
Full text of Ann Noonan’s public statement during the BBG meeting in Washington, D.C., February 22, 2013:
Statement to the Broadcasting Board of Governors by Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB)
“Thank you very much for allowing me to make another presentation at a BBG Open Meeting. Hopefully future meetings will allow more members of the public to also participate.
I’d like to say that I was impressed by the fact that my first statement to the BBG triggered a personal attack on me in the Russian media. I am happy that Russians could see grass roots American democracy in action, especially since I was attacked NOT by a supporter of Mr. Putin, but by a top American employee of Radio Liberty.
On behalf of CUSIB, we were very glad that RFE/RL Acting President, Mr. Kevin Klose, a distinguished journalist, was willing and able to meet in Moscow this week with Russian human rights leaders and fired Radio Liberty reporters. We are hopeful that Radio Liberty’s experienced journalists who had been dismissed by the previous management of RFE/RL will be permitted to return — as urged by one of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize nominees Lyudmila Alexeyeva and many other prominent Russian and American media freedom and human rights leaders and experts.
CUSIB is also hopeful that RFE/RL will revise its personnel policies and will settle overseas discrimination lawsuits brought by its former foreign employees in Prague, an Armenian citizen Anna Karapetian, and a Croatian national, Snjezana Pelivan.
I’d like to mention how honored I am to have traveled to DC with Ms. Jing Zhang, President of Women’s Rights in China. Ms. Zhang’s work includes help for child brides, for women who are threatened with forcible abortion, help for abandoned girl orphans, and efforts against trafficking of women and children. I’m sure Ms. Zhang can assure any who are uncertain that for millions of oppressed women around the world, BBG-funded news programs offer valuable information and hope.
There are two other points I’d like to mention about the importance of the news flow to China and Tibet – especially for those who may assume that democracy and human rights are on the horizon: China’s new leader, Xi Jingpin, announced last month that he opposes reform and that there will be no change, but who knows. The other point is the importance of understanding the desperation of self-immolation in Tibet that has already risen past 100 lives.
In response to the GAO Report, CUSIB remains determined to defend surrogate broadcasters and the VOA at the same time. Both were clearly designed by Congress for very good reasons. Surrogate broadcasters have a special role to play as an alternative to suppressed internal media and they can’t do the job of the Voice of America. By the same token, Congress created surrogate broadcasters because VOA has a different role. CUSIB strongly believes that we need them both.
CUSIB remains ardently opposed to the OIG Report attacking the authority of BBG members and the tremendous efforts of BBG Governor Ambassador Victor Ashe who has made the agency relevant by insisting upon its adherence to its mission and good management.
CUSIB is encouraged by BBG’s latest efforts for better management and greater transparency and for resolving the Radio Liberty crisis in Russia. We extend our best wishes to RFE/RL employees and new Acting President Kevin Klose in connection with the approaching 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty. Radio Liberty in Exile and Russian human rights activists and opposition politicians are planning a major event in Moscow on March 1 to mark the anniversary. We hope that by then the fired journalists will already be part of Radio Liberty’s staff and Russian human rights community will once again support this great media freedom institution.”
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.