A Washington-based diplomacy group says U.S. international broadcast funding is at a “critical crossroads” and listed recommendations it hopes the Senate will adopt.
The Public Diplomacy Council in late June said the Senate should “reaffirm the House of Representatives’ commendable reversal” of the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ plans to abolish Voice of America worldwide English radio broadcasts and eliminate or reduce 13 other VOA languages, as well as eight languages at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia.
The group also wants the Senate to increase the fiscal 2008 appropriation for international broadcasting from $668 million to $694 million “to restore all core services as recommended by a bipartisan group of 11 former VOA directors earlier this year.”
The nonprofit group wrote, “The House has recognized that despite program expansions to Muslim countries, these cuts would in effect gut the nation’s overseas broadcasting capability nearly everywhere else. For that reason, the Council urges the Senate to enhance the House’s commendable $15.7 million restoration of VOA core services by adding $10 million more.”
This move would, among other benefits, “pave the way for restoration of VOA’s Arabic service recommended by this Council and the Council on Foreign Relations and for retaining VOA Russian on radio (not included in the House reversals),” the group wrote, and “provide additional resources to restore vital program development, news gathering and transmission support cut at VOA since 2002.”
The Public Diplomacy Council tries to foster “greater public recognition of public diplomacy in the conduct of foreign affairs.” It is based at George Washington University and maintains ties with the USIA Alumni Association, the president of which is an ex-officio member of its board.