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SBE Responds to N.Y. Chapter Chair’s Concerns Over Pakistan Agreement

The engineering organization seeks “to correct some misunderstandings.”

The Society of Broadcast Engineers says it’s not supporting terrorists, and it is defending its recent affiliation agreement with a nascent engineering organization in Pakistan despite criticism over the arrangement from the chairman of SBE’s New York City chapter.

We reported that Tom Ray, chief engineer of WOR(AM), New York and corporate DOE for Buckley, said such an agreement could harm the U.S. and he called on the SBE to rescind the deal. In an e-mail directed at SBE officials and shared with trade press, Ray said information shared with “a rogue country” would likely be used against the U.S. 

Ray questioned whether he wanted to remain an SBE member, citing the recent attempted car bomb detonation in Times Square and the 9/11 attacks, said to be financed by the Taliban in Pakistan.

In a statement, SBE President Vinny Lopez said Ray, an “an eminent and respected engineer,” had raised “serious issues that are deserving of a timely response.” (more ….)

The SBE disagrees with Ray on this issue, however. “The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington left all of us profoundly scarred. Those events, and our memories, however, have nothing to do with the valuable international relationships that SBE has cultivated for many years with professional broadcast engineers and their national societies in many countries, including India, Mexico, South Korea and others,” wrote Lopez. “The SBE eagerly encourages these international relationships, and we will continue to do so.”

Lopez continued: “There is no connection between BESPAK and any group or individual who may wish to harm the U.S., including those who have taken refuge in Pakistan or in any other country.” SBE believes Ray’s concerns are without foundation.

To correct what he called “misinformation” that had been reported, Lopez said the SBE has not refused membership to any member of the Pakistan engineering group nor has it refused to allow any member of BESPAK to use SBE logos or name; the SBE has also not imposed any other restriction on its association with BESPAK not applicable to members of other international societies with which the SBE is affiliated. This appeared to be a response in part to a quote from an SBE board member in an earlier RW story.