The following CUSIB statement was presented by Joseph Noonan at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) open board meeting on October 8, 2015 in Washington, DC:
(as prepared for delivery)
Good morning and thank you for welcoming me today.
As a representative for the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, I’m here to present CUSIB’s official statement to the Board of Governors. Since the August 2015 meeting was cancelled, much of CUSIB’s presentation today is a broader scope of issues and not confined entirely to Middle East Broadcasting.
CUSIB has had the chance to officially welcome CEO John Lansing. As CUSIB has done in the past to the former CEO and to all new BBG Governors, CUSIB continues to extend any assistance or advice to Mr. Lansing in his new position.
CUSIB believes that if the BBG is reorganized through proposed Congressional legislation, there will be a reorganization of the IBB. Either at that point or before, CUSIB is hopeful that Mr. Lansing will consider if there are too many attorneys or managers on staff for this news agency, if there are too many managers on staff, and if that money would be better spent on broadcasting.
CUSIB will be resubmitting a FOIA request to inquire about the travel expenses for IBB management. Disclosure of this information will allow for more transparency involved in the cost of managing this agency.
CUSIB is opposed to the BBG’s proposed radio broadcast cuts to Afghanistan, a country where most people live in rural areas. With the proposed reductions that were submitted to the House Appropriations Committee, the people in Afghanistan will only get 2 hours of broadcasting services. With the heightened attention to Kunduz and the bombing of the hospital there, how can the BBG deny the population information at such a crucial moment in history?
In regard soft diplomacy, CUSIB is concerned about poor people in China and Tibet who do not have access to cell phones or the Internet, and who are desperate for uncensored news and basic human rights.
With China’s great firewall, great cannon – and all of Chinese government related hacking in mind – the BBG cannot rely solely upon the Internet to broadcast news into China and Tibet. We all know that radio is a relatively low-cost media platform and the people inside China and Tibet who listen to it cannot be monitored.
Since there have been projections for VOA radio to be gone by 2017, in the next few weeks Members of CUSIB will be approaching the US Congress to prevent these services from being eliminated. CUSIB will be asking for an increase in funding for short wave and medium wave radio broadcasting in China and Tibet. CUSIB is also asking for an increase in funding for RFA along with VOA Cantonese, Mandarin and Tibetan services – as well as in Afghanistan.
Taxpayer dollars that could be spent for these language services would be better spent than reducing them and spending more money on the bureaucracy.