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Lack Meets With Reform-Minded CUSIB

BBG Watch notes meeting

Interacting with an advocacy group that has been critical of certain Broadcasting Board of Governors policies, Andrew Lack met this week with members of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting in New York, according to a report on the website BBG Watch, which itself has ties to CUSIB.

As we’ve reported, Lack has been offered the job as the agency’s first CEO. A BBG reform bill has passed the House but is pending in the Senate. It’s unclear when Lack would start as CEO.

The meeting was arranged by CUSIB’s executive director, Ann Noonan, according to the account, while another leader of the group, Ted Lipien, a former Voice of America acting associate director, participated by phone. CUSIB members include current and former leaders of BBG employee unions. According to the post, the meeting also included Chinese writer and democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, a former political prisoner in China. CUSIB has been vocal about decisions involving service to China and Tibet.

Some CUSIB members helped launch BBG Watch, which is run by Lipien and is often harshly critical of BBG, though the website states it has no official connection with CUSIB.

According to the story, Lipien told Lack that the VOA charter does not call for promoting U.S. foreign policy but does require it to report on significant views in support and in opposition to those policies. Noonan talked with Lack about treatment of BBG journalists and the importance of radio to audiences with limited access to other media. “According to some of the participants in the meeting with Andy Lack, he made an excellent impression, appearing highly engaged, asking numerous questions, and expressing strong support for the mission of U.S. international media,” the story states. Read it here.