• Congress,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    BBG nominees confirmed and Radio Free Asia bill passes House

    Briefly, June 30 was a good day for US international broadcasting. Alan Heil tells us the Senate confirmed the approved all eight nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) last night. They should be sworn in soon. Also, the bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia passed the House yesterday. The next step is President Obama’s signature to make it a law. See also: Senate Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer’s article on the report

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting

    Congress and International Broadcasting

    While the nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors remain in a holding pattern in the Senate, mostly likely because of Senator Tom Coburn, there is good news on the US international broadcasting front. The bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia has passed an important milestone. According to a Senate source, last Friday, the Radio Free Asia bill was “hotlined” on the Republican side. This means there was no Republican opposition to considering the bill for unanimous consent. The next step is to hotline the bill on the Democrat side, which may or may not have occurred before you read this. See also: Senator Richard Lugar’s report on the…

  • China,  Government Broadcasting,  Media,  Public Diplomacy

    CCTV: China’s soft power in the Middle East

    On May 27, 2010, The National published an article about China’s engagement strategy, carried out by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), toward Arab television viewers in the Middle East and North Africa. Many countries broadcast to the Middle East in Arabic, including France, Russia, and the U.S., but China is different: it broadcasts, from Beijing, to the region in Chinese with Arabic subtitles. Instead of focusing on news and current events in the Middle East, CCTV highlights Chinese culture and the arts. Simply, “…CCTV Arabic aims to tell the Arab world about China.“ In his article, Daniel Bardsley further describes China’s strategy, which involves voicing the views of the…

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy,  Reports

    Senate Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors

    The most extensive report on the issues facing the Broadcasting Board of Governors and US international broadcasting was released this week. “US International Broadcasting – Is Anybody Listening? – Keeping the US Connected” (1mb PDF) was prepared by the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, under the leadership of senior professional staff member Paul Foldi, and is the best, if not the only, substantial review of its kind. The report describes the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) as transforming from its intent of a political “firewall” to a modern political “football” that has resulted in an average vacancy on the board of over 470 days. Even now, the new…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    Update on the confirmation of US Broadcasting Board of Governors

    The US Broadcasting Board of Governors continues to operate with a minimum of members, just enough for a quorum. The Board currently has four members, no chair, each of which continues several years (from over 3 to nearly 6) past their terms expired. Since March 23, 2010, the six of the replacement slate of eight members have been queued up for confirmation. Two of members, Dana Perino and Michael Meehan, were in a holding pattern pending more questions and answers from Senators. Last week, it appeared the nominees would be confirmed before the Senate recessed for Memorial Day. Alan Heil, noted expert on US government broadcasting explains the current situation:…

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting

    Movement on the BBG? (Updated)

    No, not yet. The Senate has adjourned until June 7. Questions from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to at least one of nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors is available from the Huffington Post (scroll down to COBURN’S QUESTIONNAIRE FOR DANA PERINO), or click here for the Word document with the questions. Meanwhile, the head of the Persian News Network was “reassigned” and his deputy was fired. See also: All eight BBG nominees are now committee approved, await Senate floor vote by Kim Andrew Elliott, 26 May 2010.  VOA Persian tilts in favor of Tehran? (updated) by Kim Andrew Elliott, 15 February 2010. Voice of the Mullahs? Not quite. from…

  • Events,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    Event: U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Business Meeting

    On May 25, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will hold a business meeting at the Capitol Building in S-116 at 2:15 p.m. Presided by Senator John Kerry, the meeting will go over the following legislation: S 3317: Haiti Empowerment, Assistance and Rebuilding Act of 2010 S 3193: International Cyberspace and Cybersecurity Coordination Act of 2010 S 3104: A bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia, and for other purposes S Res 469: A resolution recognizing the 60th Anniversary of the Fulbright Program in Thailand S Res 532: A Resolution recognizing Expo 2010 Shanghai China and the USA Pavilion at the Expo The meeting will also review two…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    Smith-Mundt Alert: USC magazine cites VOA

    Found on page 7 of the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of USC College Magazine is a violation of federal law, specifically the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, as amended.  This magazine contains a quote from the Voice of America, a US Government broadcaster that is not permitted to be disseminated within the territory of the US (see image at right).  Concern over USIA and US Government broadcasters like VOA led the DC Circuit court in 1998 to exempt USIA from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Think of the damage Wikileaks could have caused if it was around in the 1990s to “expose” Americans to VOA!

  • Government Broadcasting,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy

    Voice of the Mullahs? Not quite.

    In an unsigned editorial titled “Voice of the Mullahs“, The Washington Times charges the “Voice of America is becoming the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The piece then cites two recent examples of the Voice of America’s Persian News Network giving “preferred treatment to pro-regime messages.” The individuals allegedly receiving this “preferred treatment” were Hooshang Amir-Ahmadi and Trita Parsi. The editorial closes with an incredible leap, declaring that …if VOA is telling Iranians struggling for freedom that resistance is futile, we hope Tehran keeps jamming it Somebody at The Washington Times is either confused or being mislead, or both. It would seem from the reading of this op-ed…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    US efforts to enhance the free flow of information to Iran (Section 1264 report)

    Public Law 111-84, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), includes the VOICE Act which authorized $55 million for four efforts to “strengthen the ability of the Iranian people get access to news and information and overcome the electronic censorship and monitoring efforts of the Iranian regime.” Passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, these efforts remained authorized but not funded. Section 1264 of the NDAA required a report by the Administration to provide a detailed description of informational activities related to Iran. That report was released recently without fanfare. It is available here, posted on Google Docs as a 470kb PDF (reduced from the 3mb…