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BBG: Spend More Wisely, Talk More Discreetly

Board met in Prague this week; also sets out goals in Burma

Spend more wisely, talk more discreetly.

Those are two themes coming out of the BBG meeting in Prague this week.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors called for a “broader and more transparent policy to control spending on government-sponsored conferences and travel.” It told its governance committee to develop this for consideration next month.

The BBG — which oversees U.S. international broadcasting as part of U.S. foreign policy — also set ground rules under which its own members “agree to keep information regarding deliberations on budgetary and legislative matters confidential.”

More broadly, the organization wants to take advantage of easing of press restrictions in Burma. BBG approved a resolution for coordination with Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, “to build on recent breakthroughs to raise the profile of U.S. international broadcasting in the South Asian nation.” It noted that VOA had signed an agreement to bring English teaching programs to Burmese state radio, and that VOA and RFA journalists have enjoyed “enhanced access” to Burma lately.

According to a meeting summary, the board also met with Czech Republic officials and Radio Free Europe/Radio Libert staff and held an “open town hall” discussion. Members praised officials of the Czech Republic for the country’s “long-term support for U.S. international broadcasting.” RFE/RL moved its headquarters to Prague from Munich 17 years ago.

And the board called attention to VOA’s Cairo bureau chief, Elizabeth Arrott, “who managed to get into Syria in early May to produce a series of radio, TV and Internet reports on anti-government demonstrations that have spread into neighboring Lebanon.”

Meeting Video