The President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2011, sent to the Congress today, includes $768.8 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an increase of 1.5 percent from the FY 2010 funding level. The request reflects the continued critical role of BBG broadcasts in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.
The FY 2011 budget supports key new initiatives:
- Upgrading the BBG’s global satellite distribution capacity, infrastructure, and network control center;
- Expanding FM, digital, and new media opportunities:
- Improving digital workflows and expanding distribution to mobile devices;
- Adding 24/7 FM transmitters in Afghanistan to carry Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) Pashto and Dari programming;
- Creating Radio Free Asia (RFA) video programming in Burmese,Tibetan, Mandarin, and Vietnamese;
- Diversifying distribution of VOA content in Africa.
- Addressing critical personnel and capital needs in RFE/RL bureaus.
The proposed budget also continues funding for ongoing programming to critical audiences, including: 24-hour streams for VOA Persian News Network television and RFE/RL Radio Farda to Iran; Alhurra, including Al Youm, the daily three-hour Alhurra Television program broadcast live from the Middle East; Radio Sawa to the Middle East; Afia Darfur to Sudan and Eastern Chad; VOA and RFE/RL Pashto programming to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region; RFE/RL and VOA Dari and Pashto programming to Afghanistan; VOA Urdu radio and television broadcasts to Pakistan; VOA Somali to Somalia; a 10-hour coordinated RFA and VOA stream to North Korea; and a 30-minute, five-day-a-week VOA Spanish television program for Venezuela.
The FY 2011 budget request balances competing policy priorities with available budget resources. The request proposes to reduce contracting costs and other Agency support expenses through efficiencies. The request also includes several program adjustments, including the closure of selected language services and programs, operational efficiencies in broadcast services, and realignment of transmission networks.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors looks forward to working with the Congress toward enactment of the proposed funding levels and program proposals. Further detail on the requested BBG budget is available at http://www.bbg.gov/reports/budget.html.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information, and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 171 million in 100 countries. BBG broadcasting organizations 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 Marti).