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BBG Takes Steps Toward CEO Hire

Condemns attacks in Benghazi and reiterates demands for the disclosure of whereabouts of two journalists missing in Syria

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has taken further steps toward realizing the goal of creating a Chief Executive Officer position for U.S. International Broadcasting.

“The board should proceed [with the appointment] as a matter of urgency,” according to the governance committee, said Alternative BBG Presiding Gov. Dennis Mulhaupt at the Sept. 13 BBG meeting.

“Since 2010, the board has been discussing the need for a CEO,” Mulhaupt said. While several efforts had already been made through the legislative process, he said that this latest effort would take place “under existing statutory framework provided by the International Broadcasting Act.”

Mulhaupt added that the governance board had met earlier that day with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also “strongly supported the creation of a CEO position” for U.S. International Broadcasting.

Gov. Victor Ashe, by far the meeting’s most vocal participant, expressed concern at the suggestion that the BBG would start “preliminary work” before Congress has approved the new position. He said that given the upcoming elections and the possibility of a changeover in power, and the fact that it can take anywhere from 15 days to two months for Congress to act, such efforts could be counterproductive.

“Let’s say we come across Mr. or Mrs. Ideal and we hire them, but then the notification comes back and one of them [the Congressional committee members] says no,” Ashe said. “Does that person lose their job?”

He added, “How many serious candidates are going to apply before they know Congress has signed off on it? Are we putting the cart before the horse?”

Mulhaupt said, “The committee will not start its work unless and until Congressional notification is received.”

The vote was unanimous approving a series of steps leading to the position’s creation under current law. Actual appointment of a CEO will be subject of another board meeting.

In other business, the board reiterated its demand for the Syrian government to disclose the whereabouts of two missing Alhurra journalists — Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal — who reportedly were abducted in Syria on Aug. 20 and their whereabouts are unclear.

They also condemned Tuesday’s attack in Libya, at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, that resulted in the deaths of the U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others.