Bush Bashs VOA

Still Another Reason to Defeat Bush:

The President is reshaping the Voice of America from a respected, independent, neutral source of news into a shill for special interests, and ideologically-driven prattle.

At least that’s what about 1/2 of the VOA employees are saying.

The VOA Charter

VOA Charter

To protect the integrity of VOA programming and define the organization’s mission, the VOA Charter was drafted in 1960 and later signed into law on July 12, 1976, by President Gerald Ford.

The long-range interests of the United States are served by communicating directly with the peoples of the world by radio. To be effective, the Voice of America must win the attention and respect of listeners. These principles will therefore govern Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts.

1. VOA will serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news. VOA news will be accurate, objective, and comprehensive.

2. VOA will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.

3. VOA will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussions and opinion on these policies.

(Public Law 94-350)

This sounds great, but the United States has lost so much credibility through its actions around the world, that VOA broadcasts are probably irrelevant, but controlling the VOA is one more democratic institution to be subverted by the Bush crew.

How Did The VOA Fall to the Dark Side?

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is an independent agency of the United States government, responsible for all U.S. government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting.

The Board is composed of nine members, eight of whom are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The ninth, an ex-officio member, is the Secretary of State. The current members of the Board are: Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Chairman; Joaquin F. Blaya; Blanquita Walsh Cullum; D. Jeffrey Hirschberg; Edward E. Kaufman; Norman J. Pattiz; Veronique Rodman, Steven J. Simmons; and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Independent? Hardly. There are no checks and balances here. The President appoints eight (8) of the nine (9) board members who are confirmed by Congress, also controlled by the President. The ninth board member is the Secretary of State, who is – guess what, also controlled by the President.

How Well is the BBG Doing?

Not so good, according to the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

“OIG found that IBB did not have fully functioning property management policies and procedures for domestic, nonexpendable property to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of operations and to meet agency property reporting requirements fully. Although current policies require that domestic property inventories be conducted every two years, OIG found no evidence of a complete property inventory conducted by IBB.

Major recommendations are that IBB conduct an agency-wide inventory to establish an accurate baseline for its domestic, nonexpendable personal property and implement a plan to bring it into compliance with applicable accounting and reporting requirements for property management. Part of that plan should include establishing a single, centralized receiving operation for all international broadcasting offices and establishing a mandatory annual training requirement for property management personnel.”

And The Programing?

Again, not so good.

The BBG has ordered reductions of VOA English program hours and frequencies and plans for even more reductions in the future. Ultimately, the VOA will be the 6th or 7th international broadcaster in English. There are some billion people in the world who speak and/or understand the English language. Today, more people in China are learning English than there are native speakers in North America.

And English IS our national language.

“Alhurra TV, the latest model off the production line of US government-sponsored media outlets, has started broadcasting to a less than enthusiastic audience in the Middle East. It’s beginning to look as if the policy of the current US administration is to bombard the planet with more and more stations on more and more frequencies. It’s a strategy not dissimilar to the one employed by the old Soviet Union.”

(http://www.rnw.nl/realradio/features/html/us040226.html)

And there’s this…

VOA employees express their anxieties to Congress

A petition will be sent to members of the US Congress today signed by more than 460 employees of the Voice of America – that’s nearly half the workforce. The petition accuses the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) of “dismantling the nation’s radio beacon” and calling on Congress to investigate the Board. It accuses the BBG of launching new services in the Middle East with no editorial accountability at the expense of VoA programmes serving the same areas, and cutting back on broadcasts to Eastern Europe and in English around the world.

Alan Heil, a former VoA deputy director who helped distribute the petition, said “It’s very, very important for the United States to have something on the air that’s more food for thought and is part of the dialogue and not just a pop music service.” The petition notes that Radio Sawa, the Arabic language service, failed to cover the breaking news of the capture of Saddam Hussein.

To pay for new services such as Radio Sawa, VoA English broadcasts are being crippled, the petition’s supporters say. The English-language service has been reduced from 24 to 19 hours a day, and as a result it misses important stories, such as the handover of power in Iraq, Heil said.

Heil also notes with concern that after four years of fighting to maintain VOA’s high journalistic standards and comprehensive reporting, the highly respected director of VOA Central News, Andre de Nesnera, was removed from his position this past Thursday.

A Voice of America spokesman said that the agency would not comment until it had seen the petition.

This is just another one of those small incidents in the incremental tightening grip of these ideologues. I have previously reported on some of the others – all small things that concern just a few people in very specialized areas. Generally groups with little organized political power, and no visibility.

These folks are vvvery clever.

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