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US Media Chief Clarifies Remarks About Foreign Broadcasters

Walter Isaacson (file photo)
Walter Isaacson (file photo)

The new head of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors has backed off remarks he made last week that appeared to describe Iran, Venezuela, Russia and China as "enemies."

In a statement issued Thursday, the board said chairman Walter Isaacson meant to refer to "enemies within Afghanistan - those that advocate terrorism."

Isaacson, in a speech to Radio Free Europe on Sept. 28, said the Voice of America and its sister broadcasters risked being "out-communicated by our enemies." He then listed Russia Today, Iran's Press TV, Venezuela's TeleSur and China's planned launch of an international 24-hour news channel.

Russia Today, a government-funded media network, suggested that Isaacson's words were aimed at raising more money for his organization's budget, which is controlled by the U.S. Congress.

The BBG is the parent group that oversees the U.S. international broadcasting outlets Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.