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  • Congress Moves to Protect International Broadcasting

    Kudos to the House Appropriations Committee for protecting U.S. international broadcasting against the eviscerating cuts in language services and personnel contained in the President’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget. If the budget passes—a big “if,” of course—it could reverse a direction that can only be described as self-defeating for American foreign policy and public diplomacy.

    In its newly released draft of the FY 2013 budget, the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee gave the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) about $26.98 million more than it asked for. In the Operations account, BBG asked for $711.56 million and got $740.10 million. In the Improvement account, BBG asked for $8.59 million and got $7.03 million.

    The proposed cuts extend across Voice of America’s (VOA) language services:

    • 70-plus positions from broadcasting in English and the English newsroom, which will result in the elimination of Worldwide English, turning it into an Internet and social media feed.
    • Total elimination of the Cantonese service, which takes the VOA out of the political and information arena in big chunk of China. This is at a savings of only $965,000.
    • Cuts of 10 positions in Dari and Pashto, the primary languages in Afghanistan.
    • Cuts of a major part of the Tibetan service, which will signal to the Chinese that the U.S. has effectively abandoned Tibet.
    • Cuts in Turkish, which at this point is operating only on the Internet.
    • Cuts in Georgian, a major buffer region and a country that Russia invaded in 2008. This is also at this time an Internet-only operation.
    • Cuts in Azeri, which at this point is Internet-only.
    • Major cuts in Spanish, affecting both the Latin Service of VOA and Radio Marti, which is likewise owned by the U.S. government but is located in Miami, broadcasting to Cuba and federally funded. This comes at a time when Iran is extending its broadcasting throughout the region.
    • Cuts in the Bangladeshi service, part of a region that remains highly volatile.

    VOA Director David Ensor now has the opportunity to revisit the issue of the targeted language services. As a veteran journalist, formerly with CNN, Ensor knows the importance of protecting VOA’s most important assets, its seasoned reporting and editing staff. The Broadcasting Board of Governors must allow him to do so.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Congress Moves to Protect International Broadcasting

    1. Al Sledge says:

      International Broadcasting, an evolution of The Voice of America, is a shining example that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. Bombs and bullets cannot stop and idea whose time has come. The US MUST return to serving as an ideal and role model to strive for while abandoning the myth that people and nations can be changed only with death threats and intimidation. Even the ideas for liberty, small government, and sound money expressed by Ron Paul have resounded approvingly over the globe, despite attempts by the well connected here in the US to silence those ideas.

      It is rather ironic that internet media, Press TV (Iran), Al Jazeera (Arabic), and Russia Today are all gaining audience approval as our own American major media fails. While the Broadcasting Board of Governors is “owned” by the US government, its reporters are journalists are for the most part independent. I, and many other, find few things more despicable than censorship, no matter how noble the cause.

    2. PermReader says:

      The problem of US international broadcasting is not the budget but the incompetence and corruption of the journalists in explaining and defending the American democratic traditions and interests.The leftist moral relativism ,so called " guilt complex" before the third world,aborigin connections often make their articles senceless.

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