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CUSIB: BBG Itself Needs Reform

Lipien criticizes board’s restructuring plan

The Broadcasting Board of Governors needs to be reformed, one critic says, and should include more foreign policy experts, human rights advocates, journalists, representatives of ethnic communities, even former members of Congress.

That’s the view of Ted Lipien, director of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting. He comments in a guest post on the public diplomacy blog

“Such a board would not only better project and protect the interests of the American people and the U.S. government, it would have more expertise to understand foreign audiences and ability to do its job right,” he wrote.

Lipien is a former acting associate director at VOA. The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting describes itself as a nonpartisan organization that tries to strengthen the flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted or developing media. Among its stated goals are to press to make BBG programs more effective and better managed.

Lipien opposes the current board’s efforts to remove restrictions on marketing its programs in the United States “because it would distract it from its primary mission of supporting media freedom and human rights abroad.”

He also criticized recent programming decisions involving broadcasts in Arabic and Russian, as well as the current BBG restructuring plan, which he believes would remove much of U.S. international broadcasting from congressional and public control and scrutiny.

Rather than approve the restructuring, he thinks Congress should demand a change in BBG leadership and a different plan.

Read his comments here.