The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency which manages U.S. overseas news and information programs, wants to abolish the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service leaving funding only for a television program which the vast majority of people in Tibet are not able to receive.
The independent, nongovernmental Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) is opposing this plan, as are Tibetans, human rights groups, and media freedom organizations.
The VOA Tibetan Service was created by an Act of Congress signed into law on February 16, 1990 ‘to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.’ Less than one year ago the Voice of America was celebrating the importance of Tibetan radio broadcasts, marking the 20th anniversary of the first VOA Tibetan radio program.
Text of Public Law 101-246, sponsored by Rep. Dante Fascell, establishing the Voice of America Tibetan Service:
SEC. 234. VOICE OF AMERICA BROADCASTS TO TIBET.
(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF SERVICE- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Director of the United States Information Agency shall establish through the Voice of America, a service to provide Voice of America Tibetan language programming to the people of Tibet.
(b) AMOUNT OF PROGRAMMING- For each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991, programming broadcasts to the people of Tibet pursuant to this section shall occur for not less than two hours each day.
(c) REPORT- As soon as possible in the fiscal year 1990, the Director of the United States Information Agency shall submit to the Congress a comprehensive written report detailing the implementation of the programming provided for in this section.
(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- In addition to funds otherwise available under subsection (e), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Voice of America for purposes of carrying out this section $1,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991.
(e) TRANSFER AUTHORITY- The Director of the United States Information Agency may transfer to Voice of America Tibet Service such amounts appropriated for the `Television and Film Service’ for each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991 as exceed the amounts authorized to be appropriated for each such fiscal year for such Service.
SEC. 235. VOICE OF AMERICA’S THAILAND RADIO FACILITIES.
The Director of the United States Information Agency may enter into a contract for the construction of the Voice of America’s Thailand radio facilities for periods not in excess of 5 years or delegate such authority to the Corps of Engineers of the United States Department of the Army if there are sufficient funds to cover at least the Government’s liability for payments for the fiscal year in which the contract is awarded plus the full amount of estimated cancellation costs.
SEC. 236. VOICE OF AMERICA BROADCASTS TO THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
For each of the fiscal years 1990 and 1991, the Voice of America shall provide not less than 12 hours of programming each day for the People’s Republic of China.
SEC. 237. VOICE OF AMERICA EQUIPMENT ABROAD.
It is the sense of the Congress that the United States Information Agency and the Voice of America should take every step necessary to ensure that existing Voice of America equipment abroad is properly maintained and enhanced to prevent deterioration.