BBG plans to confuse the world with yet another brand name – GNN

BBG Watch Commentary

As the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) prepares to eliminate the Voice of America brand name from many strategically important countries and entire regions, it is still planning to introduce yet another brand name to confuse even further international audiences which have no idea what the BBG stands for, literally and in terms of its mission.

The destruction of the Voice of America broadcasting brand name continues to be a real threat. This idea is pushed hard on BBG members by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and International Broadcasting Bureau executive staff.

The BBG’s Strategy and Budget Committee meeting, which took place on April 10, 2012 at BBG Headquarters, confirmed plans for the launching of a Global News Network as a key element of BBG strategy. But Governors Michael Meehan and Enders Wimbush, who co-chaired the proceedings, would not agree to drop the plan to silence Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcasts and to end all VOA Cantonese radio, television and Internet production. They still seem to believe that GNN English language global news agency is more important than broadcasting in Cantonese and Tibetan to China and Tibet.

Sources have told BBG Watch that Governor Victor Ashe, who was also in attendance, tried to get Governors Meehan and Wimbush to reverse the earlier BBG decision to kill VOA Tibetan radio, the VOA Cantonese Service and broadcasts to several other communist and authoritarian-ruled nations, including Vietnam and Laos. Ashe later told the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) that it is still unclear whether the Committee will agree with his view and recommend the reversal of China, Tibet and other cuts. CUSIB quoted Ashe as saying: “I cannot say the full committee agreed or disagreed. It is unclear. However, what I think is clear is that Congress will not allow this cut to take place.” (Governor Michael Lynton was not in attendance at the April 10 committee meeting.)

Aggregating content from various BBG broadcasting entities may be a good idea for internal exchange and cross-use where appropriate, but creating a new news agency run by the U.S. federal government seems completely nonsensical.

There are already many independent global news agencies. The strength of U.S. international broadcasting is in the Voice of America brand name, which is unique and will attract audiences because of what the name represents to the rest of the world. Its strength is also in the highly-specialized and highly-targeted output from the surrogate broadcasters such as Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). They produce country and region specific news, not global news, and have specific audiences.

The BBG strategists want the money for developing the Global News Network to come from eliminating the Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet, VOA Cantonese radio, TV and Internet, and from severely reducing VOA English, VOA Spanish, VOA Georgian, VOA Turkish and other VOA programs. They also plan to take money from the surrogate broadcasters by reducing their broadcasts to countries without free media.

Specialization of news production has always been the greatest strength of various USIB entities. The BBG/IBB strategists/globalists want to eliminate it to put themselves in charge. They know very little about various countries and regions. We can only imagine what the end result will be when the money and resources are taken away from the professionals who care about their countries and mission and given to this group of bureaucrats.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors already has too many brand names. Creating yet another one — a global news agency run by the U.S. federal government — makes absolutely no sense at all when there is already the Voice of America. But, of course, the BBG strategists are working hard to eliminate VOA from as many countries as possible. They should keep in mind, however, that the Voice of America brand name does not belong to them. It belongs to the American people. The U.S. Congress needs reaffirm its oversight role and prevent this group of BBG bureaucrats from destroying an institution that is vital to U.S. national security.

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We received from our sources the following notes from the April 10 BBG Strategy and Budget Committee meeting.

Reaffirming the BBG Strategy: One Organization, Many Brands & Global News Network
 
• That the Committee confirms the plenary Board’s  October 2011 decision, which described the launching of a Global News Network as a key element of BBG strategy.  The Board’s decision states:
 

• “The Board will endeavor to harness the agency’s original reporting now spread across 59 different language services to power an unprecedented Web-based global newsroom. The Global News Network will aggregate content from the agency’s regional divisions and distribute branded news products – radio, television, website, social media/engagement, and enterprise products – for use by Voice of America, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks.”

• The Committee discussed implementation of a proposed news aggregation website … as well as comments and concerns of each of the entity heads concerning the proposed site.  

• The Committee requested to review a copy of … plan for developing a news aggregation site, including its intra-USIB and public-facing components, at the April 2012 Board meeting.  
 
• The Committee requested that the IBB Director present a prototype of the proposed aggregation website (including the widget directing BBG internet-traffic to an outward facing aggregation site) at the April 2012 Board meeting.

 

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