VOA Public Relations does a number on Lipien, 1Amendment responds

The Voice of America Office of Public Relations responded to Ted Lipien’s op-ed in The Washington Times. We post Lipien’s opening paragraph with the link to the article. The VOA Public Relations Office response is posted below as well as a reply to it from 1Amendment. LIPIEN: VOA harms Putin opposition in Russia Faked interviews, lax Web security are signs a shakeup is needed By Ted Lipien -The Washington Times Wednesday, February 8, 2012 Illustration by John Camejo for The Washington Times The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency in charge of critical U.S. information programs to countries such as Iran, China and Russia, can only be described as a failed enterprise in need of emergency surgery. Just as the new Voice of America (VOA) director, David Ensor, was praising the VOA Russian Service as a model of innovation during a speech to mark the broadcast’s 70th anniversary, the Russian Service was posting an apology to Alexei Navalny, a famous Russian anti-corruption lawyer, opposition leader and blogger, for publishing an online interview with him, which he described as “100 percent fake.” Mr. Navalny said he never granted this interview (he hasn’t been giving any interviews recently), accused Voice of America of “going nuts,” and suggested that all VOA Russian staff should be let go. The alleged interview, apparently obtained through an exchange of emails, included uncharacteristic attacks on other Russian opposition leaders who are Mr. Navalny’s allies against the Kremlin. No one bothered to confirm whether the answers received by email came from Mr. Navalny. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) also had a similar incident in which someone impersonated another opposition figure in Russia. READ more of LIPIEN: VOA harms Putin opposition in Russia VOA Public Relations Mr. Lipien is wrong about VOA’s Russian Service, and he badly misstates the facts on almost every point. VOA’s Russian website did publish comments it believed to be from Russian blogger and opposition figure Alexei Navalny. The article was taken down promptly when Mr. Navalny tweeted that he did not give the interview. VOA has apologized, saying in part “As a result of this incident we will strengthen our editorial standards and enact additional safeguards.” Mr. Lipien, a former VOA journalist, should also know he is wrong when he says “In 2008, the BBG (VOA’s parent organization) ended VOA radio and TV broadcasts to Russia.” In fact, after the end of the Cold War, VOA radio and television programs were carried on a number of affiliate stations throughout Russia, but under Russian government pressure almost all those broadcasts were stopped. Since then, VOA’s Russian Service has built a reliable online audience with a vibrant website that provides fair and balanced coverage. Mr. Lipien also unfairly implies the journalists who are recent arrivals from Russia and VOA stringers in Russia are somehow a liability. These dedicated reporters go through U.S. national security clearances and are the driving force behind the Russian Service’s expansion in a rapidly evolving digital environment. No one should be…

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VOA Public Relations does a number on Lipien, 1Amendment responds

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