Rohrabacher offers amendment to save VOA and RFA radio to Vietnam
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has offered an amendment to “H.R. 1410: Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2011” designed to prevent the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) from reducing Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) radio broadcasts to Vietnam.
The BBG wants to minimize VOA Vietnamese radio broadcasts and to eliminate positions of 10 VOA Vietnamese broadcasters. The BBG also wants to reduce RFA coverage to Vietnam and eliminate two RFA Vietnamese positions.
OFFERED BY MR. ROHRABACHER OF CALIFORNIA
TO THE AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A
SUBSTITUTE TO H.R. 1410 OFFERED BY MR.
SMITH OF NEW JERSEY
In section 4(a), insert before the period at the end the following: ‘‘and that the Broadcasting Board of Governors should not cut staffing, funding, or broadcast hours for the Vietnamese language services of the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, which shall be done without reducing any other broadcast language services’’.
A strong critic of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and supporter of U.S. broadcasts to nations without free media, Rep. Rohrabacher introduced a successful amendment last year to prevent the BBG from ending Voice of America radio and television broadcasts to China.
This year the BBG staff struck back with far greater programming cuts against VOA, including the elimination of the VOA Cantonese Service and VOA radio broadcasts to Tibet. BBG Watch has learned that at least some BBG members were not fully briefed by the staff on the extent of the programming cuts, particularly with regard to Tibet. At today’s BBG open meeting, BBG Governor Victor Ashe — a frequent critic of programming reductions proposals from the International Broadcasting Bureau staff — suggested that the Board will reevaluate the proposed cut of VOA radio to Tibet, but the Board did not take a formal action to reverse its earlier decision. There was no mention at today’s BBG meeting of reevaluating or reversing the proposed cuts in other VOA English and language services.
The latest amendment from Rep. Rohrabacher does not address the other proposed cuts to VOA programs, but numerous human rights and media freedom activists as well as the union representing BBG employees are working on getting Congressional support to overrule the BBG’s decisions.