CUSIB Decries BBG Opacity

Group asks board to ‘restore transparency’
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The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting, an advocacy group focusing on international broadcasting issues, has decried recent actions by the Broadcasting Board of Governors concerning its activities and prospective constraints upon employees of the various broadcast entities the BBG oversees. The complaint can be read here.

Of particular concern for CUSIB was a June 7 resolution from the BBG that CUSIB says “would prohibit disclosure of ‘deliberative information,’” involving any board member. The resolution was, according to CUSIB, presented to employees “in a manner that made it appear more absolute and oppressive.”

CUSIB worries that this would prevent disclosures to the media and whistleblowing activities. The CUSIB said in a statement that “The effect of these actions can only be intended to chill discussion of BBG decisions. They are, in CUSIB’s view, profoundly misguided.”

Letitia King, spokesperson for the BBG responded, “There seems to be confusion on the Board’s recent resolution concerning nondisclosure of specific deliberative information on narrow and specific bands of information.”

She explained: “The ground rules of the resolution are based on best federal practices, in light of the experience of other agencies that are also subject to the government in the Sunshine Act and observance of the Obama administration’s push for greater transparency. The agency must operate under the OMB rules which preclude us from disclosing pre-decisional budgetary and legislative discussions.”

And she added: “The Board’s resolution does not affect the Board’s unprecedented level of openness and transparency. This does not affect the agency’s compliance with the Sunshine Act or the rights of any individual under the Whistleblower Protection act.

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