BBG Budget Announcement

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Subject: A Message from the Board In the past year, the men and women who work in U.S. international broadcasting have offered extraordinary coverage of the Arab Spring, conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ferment in Iran and Russia, the struggle over Tibet and other developments in China, and issues of human rights and democracy all over the world, as well as offering life-saving information during humanitarian disasters. In the President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2013 sent to the Congress, the total request for the Broadcasting Board of Governors is $720.15 million.  While this is a decrease of 4.2 percent from FY 2012 and 3.6 percent from FY 2011, it is below what federal agencies were asked to submit in their FY 2013 budget proposals – all agencies were asked to request at least 5 percent below FY 2011. In these times of fiscal austerity, the BBG faces tough choices.  And we are not alone:  Every branch and each element of the federal government has had to take a hard look at itself to achieve efficiencies without sacrificing its essential work on behalf of our country.  The BBG budget submission recognizes the call for decreased spending while remaining focused on our mission and building out 21st Century communication platforms. The five-year strategy adopted by the Board last fall – after a year of review with every single language service across all five BBG networks – anticipated today’s budgetary pressures, and speaks clearly to eliminating redundancy and streamlining operations.  The budget proposal includes enhancements to reach strategically important audiences and build out the agency’s digital infrastructure.  The budget request comprises $711.56 million for International Broadcasting Operations and $8.59 million for Broadcasting Capital Improvements.  The request contains $9 million in program increases that target new weekly television programs and related new media efforts for Egypt; adds satellite TV broadcasts to Central Asia; elevates and expands social media; emphasizes innovation across media platforms; and revamps content and delivery to be more competitive.  It contains $11.6 million in censorship-fighting Internet circumvention funding to continue a broad-based approach to the deployment of emerging technologies and partnerships with cutting-edge experts, developers and in-country networks.  The FY 2013 budget request includes program, transmission and staffing reductions at the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and the International Broadcasting Bureau, in part through efforts to restructure operations and end duplication.  While four broadcast languages – Greek, Avar, Chechen, and Circassian – are proposed for elimination, the budget request preserves broad-based service in diverse vernacular languages to meet the needs of BBG audiences worldwide. These reductions are planned to ensure that all statutory requirements for broadcasts will be observed.   The request also cuts more than $21 million in administrative and technical support costs throughout the agency and grantee organizations.  We realize that some of these proposed changes will create anxiety and, if enacted, present very difficult circumstances for the men and women involved.  We assure…

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BBG Budget Announcement

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