The FY 2004 budget request to Congress includes $563.5 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees all nonmilitary U.S. international broadcasting.
Programming increases are targeted at the Middle East and Southeast Asia to bolster efforts in the War on Terrorism.
• $30 million to initiate the Middle East Television Network – a new Arabic-language satellite television network that, once operational and fully funded, will have the potential to reach vast audiences in the region.
• $3.4 million to double Voice of America’s (VOA) Indonesian radio programming (from 2.5 hours to five hours daily), and increase television programming to five hours a week.
• $2.9 million to expand BBG audience development and placement efforts critical in our redirection to local media markets.
Programming reductions are focused on Eastern and Central Europe as well as administrative and management costs.
• A reduction of $8.8 million from the FY 2003 request level would eliminate BBG broadcasting in nine languages and make cuts in others. Staff reductions associated with these cuts would affect 36 positions at VOA and 46 staff positions at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
• VOA would no longer broadcast in Bulgarian, Czech, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Slovene, Slovak, Romanian.
• RFE/RL would no longer broadcast in Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Slovak.
• VOA Ukrainian radio will be reduced from two to one hour per day. A total of three positions will be eliminated.
• VOA’s Armenian service will be reduced from six to two positions. VOA will provide content to RFE/RL’s Armenian broadcasts.
• RFE/RL Romanian broadcasting to Romania will be eliminated; however RFE/RL Romanian broadcasting targeted to Moldova will continue.
• RFE/RL’s South Slavic Service will be reduced through the elimination of all Croatian broadcasting.
• RFE/RL will reduce operational costs of its Armenian, Georgian, Serbian, and Ukrainian services.
Management and administrative streamlining would result in a base reduction of $3.9 million.
• The International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) will reduce costs by $2.6 million and eliminate 16 positions.
• RFE/RL will reduce operational costs by $1.1 million and eliminate six positions.
• Radio Free Asia (RFA) will reduce operational costs by $230,000.