Rep. Rohrabacher asks for more U.S. broadcasts to Iran and Pakistan

BBG Watch Commentary

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher at the VOA Chinese 70th Birthday Reception in Dec. 2011

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the VOA Chinese 70th anniversary reception, Dec. 2011.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has introduced a resolution urging that the Broadcasting Board of Governor (BBG) to start broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Azeri to Iran and Baloch to both Iran and Pakistan. He is also reported to be highly frustrated with the BBG’s bureaucracy in the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) for cutting programs despite being given more money by Congress in previous years.

The proposed resolution is a “Sense of the House” measure — expressing the wishes of the House of Representatives, but it would not become law requiring the BBG to take these actions.

BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives, who had been criticized before by other members of Congress of ignoring Congressional directives, would be wise, however, to listen to Rep. Rohrabacher. The same executives have been responsible over the years for cutting broadcasts to many critical areas and proposing to cut broadcasts to many others, including Iran, China, Tibet, Russia, as well as Chechnya, the ancestral homeland of the Boston terror bombings suspects.

Rep. Rohrabacher’s resolution was referred to the authorizing committee of which he is a member. There is no separate provision for funding the new services.

Rep. Rohrabacher has been a strong supporter of U.S. international broadcasting but also a strong critic of the IBB senior staff. He has been an outspoken advocate for human rights and democracy around the world

Sources told BBG Watch Rep. Rohrabacher is extremely concerned that IBB executives are cutting and weakening broadcasts to critical and dangerous parts of the world despite having received more money from Congress in previous, due in large part to his earlier efforts, and being specifically told by members of Congress not to cut any more programs.

Sources told us that Rep. Rohrabacher feels his support for U.S. broadcasts is being thwarted by the agency’s bureaucrats. He blames  them for cutting programs and weakening news, information and commentary instead of making them stronger and more effective in countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Tibet, and Russia.

Sources described Rep. Rohrabacher’s frustration with the agency’s  International Broadcasting Bureau executive staff and Voice of America leadership, as enormous. Most presidentially-appointed members of the BBG Board are equally frustrated by IBB officials who are being protected by IBB Director Richard Lobo. Due to mysterious and prolonged absence of BBG Interim Presiding Governor Michael Lynton, who has not attended any BBG board meetings since January, other BBG members are unable to proceed with reforming the bureaucracy due to a lack of quorum.

 

###

 

113th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. RES. 183
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should broadcast and direct Azeri language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and Baloch language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
APRIL 25, 2013
Mr. ROHRABACHER submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

RESOLUTION
Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should broadcast and direct Azeri language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and Baloch language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Whereas the ethnic Azeri and Baloch peoples compose 18 percent of the population of Iran;
Whereas the Azeri and Baloch minorities have maintained proud and distinctive cultures and identities dating back to ancient times;
Whereas the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty currently broadcast to Iran in the Persian language;
Whereas the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty currently operate Azeri language services;
Whereas it is in the national interest of the United States for accurate and credible news to reach all the ethnic groups in Iran and Pakistan;
Whereas it is believed the area inhabited by the Baloch people holds a large reserve of oil, natural gas, gold, and other minerals and comprises 1,000 miles of strategically significant coast line from the Persian Gulf and along the Arabian Sea;
Whereas the Governments of Iran and Pakistan systematically repress human rights, political expression, and civil society activists which has been reported by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International;
Whereas the Government of Pakistan has refused to recognize the legitimate national aspirations of the Balochi people and has carried out a campaign of politically motivated murders and followed a policy known as “Kill and Dump” where Baloch activists are kidnapped and their bodies are later found in public, often mutilated;
Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran found that the “Sistan-Balochistan is arguably the most underdeveloped region in Iran, with the highest poverty, infant and child mortality rates, and lowest life expectancy and literacy rates in the country”;
Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran reports that “Baloch activists have reportedly been subject to arbitrary arrests and torture”;
Whereas the Government of Iran prevents the Balochi or Azeri languages from being used in formal and public places;
Whereas the Baloch minority in Iran is mostly Sunni Muslim and subject to religious persecution by the ruling Shia theocracy;
Whereas all the people of Iran and Pakistan have the right of self-determination, to choose their form of government, and to elect their leaders; and
Whereas it is the policy of the United States to oppose aggression and the violation of human rights inherent in the subjugation of national groups like the Azeris in Iran and Baloch in Iran and Pakistan: Now, therefore, be it
 
  •  Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should broadcast and direct Azeri language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and Baloch language content into the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Comments are closed.

Creative Commons License Original FreeMediaOnline.org content is available under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License unless otherwise specified.