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  • Obama Circumvents State Department, Supports Plan to Give BBG $10 Million

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors will receive $10 million under the compromise spending deal reached last week. President Obama effectively sided with the BBG over his own State Department in a funding dispute involving Internet circumvention work.

    Obama and lawmakers agreed to language in the fiscal 2011 spending bill cutting the State Department’s share and giving the BBG a portion to “expand unrestricted access to information on the Internet.” The BBG operates five government-sponsored international broadcasting networks.

    At stake was $30 million to advance Internet freedom. The BBG, which previously received $1.4 million from the State Department, was unlikely to get any funding this year without congressional intervention.

    As a result of the deal, which still must be approved by Congress, the BBG is guaranteed $10 million for its anti-censorship work in China and other repressive regimes. Such efforts, for example, will allow Chinese citizens to circumvent the country’s firewall to access Voice of America on the Internet.

    Over the past few years, Congress has given the State Department a total of $50 million to advance Internet freedom, including $30 million as part of the fiscal 2010 spending bill. But when the bulk of that money went unspent for more than 18 months — and requests from the BBG were unanswered — lawmakers decided to get involved.

    Chief among them was Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who authored a report about public diplomacy toward China in the age of the Internet. Lugar’s report concluded “the BBG is perfectly placed to serve as the lead U.S. government agency in assisting [Internet Censorship Circumvention Technology] efforts.”

    That sentiment resonated among fellow lawmakers, prompting House Republicans to include the language in the spending deal.

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Obama Circumvents State Department, Supports Plan to Give BBG $10 Million

    1. Al at Glenwood says:

      One small, sane step. Can we see more than one?

    2. Jill, California says:

      Obama will find ways to circumvent anything that gets in the way of his plans.

    3. Bobbie says:

      Why deal? America doesn't have the money to pay the work of foreign employees! Unavailable money going into what we are forced to trust the actions meet the intent?! Where money drives the cause corruption is at great potential. This is a charitable cause when we have an untrustworthy government! No deal! If there is worth and honesty, private funding will ensure it's intent!

    4. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      One hooray from the Far Right! Then two boo hoo's, because nobody in charge of Voice Of America, et. al. knows anything at all about Big D Democracy. Genuine Sovereign Citizens in a Constitutional Representative Democracy is what works. Small d democracy always fails. Unions destroy the Member's Jobs, corporations waste the Shareholder's Assets! They all sell out to Communism with small d democracy.

      Gosh! Internet Circumvention worked really well when Obama lit the Arab World on fire! No doubt the tool is great, but look who is using it! I am sure Stalin could have used velcro too, but I wouldn't give it to him. I wish his pants fell down!

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