Strategy, Serving Audiences and Saving Money Top the Agenda at BBG Board Meeting

Miami — The Broadcasting Board of Governors today renewed its commitment to a long-term strategy to reach more people in countries with limited or no media freedom, discussed concrete means to expand audiences in China and Latin America, and explored further ways to save taxpayer funds by consolidating administrative costs.

The Board engaged in these matters and more during its annual meeting at the headquarters of Radio and TV Martí in Miami.

The consolidation would combine certain behind-the-scenes functions at the media outlets supported by grants from the BBG — Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.  The top management of these grantees, together with key BBG senior staff, teamed up to produce a plan based on directions from the Board in a resolution passed in January.  Their work will be reviewed by all Board members and discussed at a meeting of the Strategy and Budget Committee in late May.  The interim report is to be posted for public comment by May 1.

As part of an updated strategy, the BBG will discuss with Congress current and planned programs for China and Tibet via the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.  (See separate news release here.)

During the meeting, the Board also condemned attacks on journalists in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.

“On behalf of this Board, I urge Azeri authorities to honor their pledge to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the attack against a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Azerbaijan, Khadija Ismailova,” said BBG Governor Dennis Mulhaupt, who chaired the public and closed meetings of the Board in Miami. “The Board denounces the appalling tactics aimed at Ms. Ismailova.  As we prepare to observe World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, Ms. Ismailova’s case is a chilling reminder of the threats of blackmail, intimidation, and violence facing journalists today.”

The Board also expressed concern over events involving the 2007 murder of reporter Alisher Saipov, who wrote extensively for VOA and RFE about human rights abuses in Uzbekistan and the plight of Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan. Last week, the Kyrgyz Supreme Court overturned a previous conviction in the case. As presiding governor, Mulhaupt spoke on the Board’s behalf in noting that the Kyrgyz government has been widely criticized for its previous handling of the case, which involved sloppy investigation and a questionable conviction.

Other business included a resolution honoring Ambassador Kathleen Stephens for her work as the Secretary of State’s representative to the Board prior to the arrival of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, who was sworn in earlier this month.

In addition, the Governors approved proposed amendments to BBG by-laws, and discussed other matters from the Governance Committee’s March meeting. The Board also received a budget update and heard reports from the International Broadcasting Bureau Director, the Director of Communications and External Affairs, and BBG broadcast executives regarding agency activities and programming.

The Board’s April 2012 open meeting is available for viewing on demand here.

Video Reports

Documents

Record of Decisions
Resolution Honoring Ambassador Kathleen Stephens
Minutes of the March 8, 2012, Meeting of the BBG
Changes to the BBG by-laws

April 20 Open Session On Demand Links:

Windows Media Broadband On Demand
Windows Media Dialup On Demand
Windows Media Audio On Demand
MP3 Audio On Demand

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).

For more information, please call the BBG’s Office of Public Affairs at 202-203-4400 or e-mail publicaffairs@bbg.gov.

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