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Noonan: BBG Should Spend More on Chinese-Language VOA

"We need to be vigilant with these congressionally mandated programs"

The Broadcasting Board of Governors should increase funding for VOA radio and TV Chinese-language services. So says Ann Noonan, executive director of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting.

CUSIB is an advocacy organization co-founded by Noonan, a human rights activist, and Ted Lipien, president of Free Media Online and a former Voice of America acting associate director. The group often comments publicly about what it sees as ways to better manage U.S. taxpayer-funded media programs for international audiences such as VOA. It has made the case before for increased funding of Voice of American’s Chinese-language services.

Noonan also called for more funding for Radio Free Asia. She spoke last week at an event sponsored by the Qi’s Cultural Foundation.

“We need to allow for people inside China and Tibet to have access to news and information without being monitored by China’s government as they are with cell phones and Internet surveillance,” she said in a released transcript. “We need to be vigilant with these congressionally mandated programs and be sure that the funds are used for the journalists to reach out to people inside China and Tibet, especially the poor, and not the bureaucrats in D.C.”

Noonan’s spoke at the event about Harry Wu, Laogai Research Foundation founder, who died recently. He served on the CUSIB Advisory Board. “He was one the strongest supporters in the United States of more U.S. taxpayer-funded radio and television broadcasting to China, Tibet and other nations lacking free media,” CUSIB stated in a press release.

The president’s 2017 budget request, sent to Congress in February, included $224.4 million for VOA, up about 3% from the prior year budget. Within that, BBG requested more money for both its Mandarin ($12.5 million) and Tibetan ($3.3 million) services for 2017. In its budget request, the board highlighted planned expansions of RFA Mandarin satellite TV programming and social media platforms; more use of ebooks by Radio Free Asia ebooks; and use of anti-censorship web and mobile techniques developed by VOA’s Tibetan Service.