Blind Ambition

Guest Post by Alex Belida

When the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently unveiled a new Strategic Plan, it set a brazenly ambitious goal: “To become the world’s leading international news agency by 2016.” But based on its latest budget proposal, global news organizations like Reuters and AP would appear to have little to fear. To achieve its goal, the BBG, a tiny federal agency overseeing U.S. non-military broadcasters, first plans to gut its existing news operations, starting with the nation’s flagship overseas broadcaster, the Voice of America.  Continue reading “Blind Ambition”

Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting (Part Three): A New Structure

Guest Post By Alex Belida

Having drafted a new mission statement for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) stressing the primacy of journalistic values and having proposed that a new non-partisan Board be composed mainly of media veterans, let us now focus on a more efficient structure for U.S. International Broadcasting (USIB) that will attract greater audiences. Continue reading “Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting (Part Three): A New Structure”

Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting (Part Two): What to do About the BBG?

Guest Post By Alex Belida

If, as suggested by Congress and proposed in my last posting, the mission of U.S. International Broadcasting (USIB) is to be good journalism in support of freedom of the press and the free flow of information, then those who oversee America’s non-military broadcasting entities need to be selected accordingly.  Continue reading “Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting (Part Two): What to do About the BBG?”

Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting: A New Mission Statement

By Alex Belida
When the current Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) decided last year to revamp its mission statement, it conceded “a variety of opinions exist within the BBG family” about the elements the statement should contain.  That is certainly an understatement!  Virtually none of the journalists I knew at the Voice of America was happy with the old mission statement.  And the new one hasn’t exactly received rave reviews either.

The old mission statement was this:  “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 audience overseas.”

Continue reading “Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting: A New Mission Statement”

Calling on the BBG to Affirm The Primacy of Good Journalism

By Alex Belida
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will hold a special telephonic meeting tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 11) to decide on an interim successor to Walter Isaacson to act as “Presiding Governor” of the Agency.  Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, resigned as Chairman of the BBG on  Jan. 27th, stating he was “taking on another big writing project, so I won’t be able to give the BBG the time it needs and deserves.”

Continue reading “Calling on the BBG to Affirm The Primacy of Good Journalism”

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 that these incidents are indicative of the overall programming of VOA, but the facts do not align with this charge. It would seem that if VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) were really telling Iranians “resistance is futile,” the regime would stop attempting to jam transmission and reception of broadcasts, as well as conduct espionage against RFE/RL.

Continue reading “Voice of the Mullahs? Not quite.”