In a meeting last Thursday in Chicago with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors Michael Meehan and the president of Radio Free Asia (RFA) Libby Liu discussed “the BBG’s plan to strengthen U.S. international broadcasting through the Voice of America’s Tibetan service and RFA.” The announcement about the meeting with Dalai Lama was posted on the Broadcasting Board of Governors website.
Meehan and another BBG member Victor Ashe were in the forefront of efforts to reverse an earlier Broadcasting Board of Governors’ decision to end VOA Tibetan radio broadcasts, close down the VOA Cantonese Service and reduce some of Radio Free Asia shortwave radio programs. Another BBG member Susan McCue also made a public statement in support of continuing VOA radio broadcasts to Tibet and to China.
The cuts were recommended by the BBG executive staff and initially supported by the majority of BBG members. Some claimed privately later that the BBG staff did not brief them fully on the programming cuts in the FY 2013 budget proposal and did not provide them with sufficient input from the public.
The decision to disavow these cuts was made at the BBG meeting in Miami on April 20. It was unanimously approved.
Official Broadcasting Board of Governors announcement:
Chicago — In a meeting today with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the president of Radio Free Asia discussed the BBG’s plan to strengthen U.S. international broadcasting through the Voice of America’s Tibetan service and RFA.
“We discussed the importance of not simply maintaining our programing, but also expanding our reach and positive impact,” said Michael Meehan, co-chair of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee.
“The Tibetan people go to great risk to hear our programing, and I reassured His Holiness that the BBG is fully committed to the highest quality news and information both inside and outside Tibet,” Meehan said.
RFA President Libby Liu also attended the meeting.
Last week the Board unanimously approved a renewed strategy for broadcasting to China that will be reflected in the ongoing dialogue with Congress about the Agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget.
The agency is developing alternatives that take into account the roles of RFA and VOA Tibetan Radio, along with VOA Cantonese TV programming and VOA satellite TV capability in China.
At the April meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, the board asked key senior staff to form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).