News / USA

Congressional Panel Criticizes Management of US International Broadcasting

Congressional Panel Criticizes Management of US International Broadcastingi
X
June 26, 2013 11:43 PM
A former leader of U.S. international broadcasting today (Wednesday) urged Congress to re-organize the journalistic agency so that broadcasters follow foreign policy directives. The proposal came during a U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing critical of the management of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees the Voice of America and other international broadcasters. VOA's Congressional Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hil.l
Congressional Panel Criticizes Management of US International Broadcasting
Cindy Saine
A former leader of U.S. international broadcasting Wednesday urged Congress to re-organize the journalistic agency so that broadcasters follow foreign policy directives. The proposal came during a U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearing critical of the management of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees the Voice of America and other international broadcasters.

The title of Wednesday's hearing gave away its main question: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors:  An Agency Defunct."  In January, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a congressional panel on Benghazi that the agency that oversees U.S. broadcasting, known as the BBG, is dysfunctional and practically "defunct."  House Foreign Affairs Chairman, Republican Ed Royce stressed that the problem is not with the journalists working for Voice of America and other broadcasters.

"Each broadcasting service is full of enterprising reporters who literally risk their lives for what they do," Royce said.

But Royce and others at the hearing said that BBG's structure makes reporters' jobs more difficult and that the agency's overall mission is unclear in the post-Cold War era.  An Inspector General report issued earlier this year concluded that the BBG is failing in its mandated duties.  Committee member Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the panel, cited that report.

"And it attributed that failure to a flawed structure and strong internal dissention," Engel said.

James Glassman, a former BBG Chairman, said the BBG is not defunct, but alive and well and serving an audience of more than 200 million people worldwide each week.  But Glassman called for ending the journalistic agency's independent status and putting it under the U.S. State Department.

"It should be made clear to the various broadcasting services that they are in the public sector and are part of the U.S. foreign policy team.  This does not simply mean performing in a manner consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States as the law states, but instead following actual strategic directives," Glassman said.

Glassman argued this would remove what he called "confusion" about the BBG's mission. The Voice of America is required by law to provide accurate, objective and comprehensive news, and to present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.

Among the witnesses at the hearing were two other former BBG governors who differed on the future management structure.  All of them agreed that it is difficult for a part-time board to oversee all the broadcasters.

But Jeff Hirschberg, a former BBG Governor, strongly disagreed with Glassman that the Voice of America and other broadcasters should be put under the State Department.

"The most important thing that U.S. international broadcasting has in its favor around the world is its credibility," Hirschberg said.

Hirschberg stressed that doing away with individual broadcasters or putting them under the State Department would destroy credibility won through decades of maintaining journalistic integrity.

After the hearing, the BBG gave VOA a statement saying the current BBG board has been working on ways to address the structural issue, reduce overlap and promote innovation, with the aim of providing the best support possible for its award-winning journalists' work around the globe, under increasingly tight budget constraints.

Some lawmakers pointed out that other international broadcasters such as al-Jazeera operate with much bigger budgets, and called for more funds for the Voice of America and other broadcasters to help them compete on the world stage.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid