On Friday, August 20, I participated in an off the record conversation with five of the new members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Joining me were Kristin Lord of CNAS and and Paul Foldi of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We met to discuss the status and future of U.S. Government broadcasting. While I cannot get into details, it was clear the Board is very interested in moving quickly to take advantage of clean start, a reset of sorts, for the Board and endeavor to make well-informed decisions to support smart, strategic requirements.
In related news, the BBG released the below “Record of BBG Decisions” on August 6:
Washington, DC, August 6, 2010 – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) met on July 30, 2010 in closed session in Washington, D.C and agreed to the following items by consensus:
Cuba Broadcasting. Governors Ashe, McCue, and Perino are requested to conduct "listening tour" of Congress regarding the future of broadcasting to Cuba during the month of August 2010 and report their observations back to the Board. Other Governors are welcome to provide background materials to support these efforts.
Use of Social Media. Governors Lynton, McCue, Meehan and Perino are requested to organize information-gathering sessions on the use of social media as a part of BBG-sponsored United States international broadcasting. These Governors will propose an agenda, speakers list and a target date for the session in November 2010 for the approval of the BBG Chairman in consultation with fellow Governors.
VOA Persian News Network (PNN). Governor Wimbush is requested to chair a working group with other Governors designated by the BBG Chairman in order to gather information concerning the current strategy and operations of PNN and to make recommendations to the Board concerning PNN’s mission and performance.
Research. Governors Ashe and Lynton are requested to co-chair a working group with other Governors to be designated by the BBG Chairman in order to gather information regarding research efforts, both within the BBG-funded entities and from external vendors, to support BBG-sponsored United States international broadcasting. The working group is requested to assess the scope and effectiveness of current research efforts and to make recommendations for improvement to the plenary Board.
Governance Committee. Governors Ashe and Mulhaupt are requested to co-chair a Governance Committee. The BBG Chairman may appoint additional Governors to participate in the Governance Committee.
Budget and Strategy Committee. Governors Wimbush and Lynton are requested to co-chair a Budget and Strategy Committee joined by Governor Meehan. The BBG Chairman may appoint additional Governors to participate in the Budget and Strategy Committee. The Board requested that the Committee focus its immediate attention to the FY 2012 budget.
BBG Staff Support for Working Groups and Committees. The BBG Staff is directed to facilitate and support the efforts of the working groups and committees formed by the Board at the request of the working group and committee chairs or the BBG Chairman.
Open Meetings. The BBG will look for opportunities to hold open meetings to the extent that it can responsibly do so while protecting the integrity of Board processes and the BBG’s statutory mandate.
WikiLeaks. By resolution, the Board authorized the Director of the Voice of America to proceed with reporting on the disclosure of classified documents available on the WikiLeaks website in a manner that is consistent with the VOA Charter and the BBG’s statutory mission, and to balance this effort with due consideration for the laws and executive orders applicable to the use, disclosure, and transmission of classified information by federal employees.
The meeting was attended by the following Governors:
Chairman Walter Isaacson
Governor Victor Ashe
Governor Susan McCue
Governor Michael Meehan
Governor Dennis Mulhaupt
Governor Dana Perino
Governor S. Enders Wimbush
Under Secretary of State Judith McHale
Governor Michael Lynton was not in attendance at the meeting.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multi-media communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).