Reacting to last week’s testimony on Capitol Hill about possible reform at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the advocacy group Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting says it was disappointed. “Rather than galvanizing the House of Representatives, there was no consensus among the three witnesses who testified” about reform, it wrote, adding that it hopes another hearing might be held.
CUSIB is a nongovernment organization that describes itself as nonpartisan. It is headed by human rights advocate Ann Noonan and former VOA Acting Associate Director Ted Lipien, president of journalism organization Free Media Online.
The group issued a summary of its views coming out of the Hill hearing:
“Despite a statement to the contrary from former BBG Chairman James Glassman and his recommendation that the BBG, including Voice of America (VOA), be integrated into the State Department — which in our view would destroy all effectiveness and credibility of U.S. international broadcasting and would become a public diplomacy disaster for the United States — CUSIB believes that former U.S. Secretary Clinton was right when she said that the ‘Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world,’” the group wrote.
CUSIB was critical of management at the International Broadcasting Bureau and of the organization’s funding. And while endorsing Clinton’s earlier comment, it also expressed a hope that Secretary of State John Kerry would be more involved than his predecessor had been. It touched on the distinction between the missions of the Voice of America and U.S.-funded “surrogate broadcasters” and it mentioned “discrimination against foreign RFE/RL employees in the Czech Republic in their labor law protections.” It also expressed concern over vacancies on the BBG:
“CUSIB believes BBG Governor Victor Ashe should remain on the board until all four Republican seats are filled. We are a nonpartisan organization, but if nominee Ryan Crocker is confirmed to replace Victor Ashe, and Matt Armstrong is confirmed to the BBG, two Republican vacancies will still remain. This is unacceptable.” Meanwhile CUSIB also praised the work of Democrats Susan McCue and Michael Meehan.