voice of america

The House Friday passed the National Defense Authorization Act. That is the bill that would, among many other things, abolish the board of governors (people) that oversees the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) (media outlets/news operations) and concentrate authority in the CEO of BBG. BBG oversees government-backed, nonmilitary international media outlets.

So far, American public diplomacy efforts directed at the North Korean people have remained almost entirely focused on radio broadcasting. [...] It is important to remember that the main focus would not be propaganda, but rather entertainment with an underlying goal to provide accurate, trustworthy information – the type of information can create change, particularly in such a closed-off environment.

The spread of outside information played a major role in expediting the fall of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War era. [...] In the first installment of our three-part series on global efforts to boost outside information access in North Korea, our Park Jong-hong wraps up the BBC and VOA’s roles in opening Eastern Europe during the Cold War era.

There’s been a growing tendency lately (particularly on BBGWatch, an online watchdog) to compare, unfavorably, the Voice of America's (VOA) performance, as measured by number of stories or live reports from the scene of breaking news, with other national and international news organizations. Behind much of this criticism is an implicit expectation that VOA’s coverage should be as fast and broad as that of large wire service-type enterprises such as AP or CNN, or even the BBC. 

Canary Wharf news ticker

The Voice of America serves a different purpose than AP and CNN.

Dan Robinson on USIB's uncertain future.

If it wasn’t inevitable, the threat was clearly lurking on the horizon. And now, legislation that would eliminate the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [...] and de-federalize the Voice of America (VOA) has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Blowing up the Board and converting the 74-year-old VOA into a non-governmental entity, the kind of drastic reform which one congressional aide reportedly described as “the nuclear option,” is now on the table.