The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) hosted outside experts in its inaugural Ideas Lab on Nov. 18-19 to explore opportunities and obstacles to engaging overseas audiences through social media. Four experts — Chris Hughes, founder of Jumo and co-founder of Facebook; Xiao Qiang, professor of journalism at the University of California at Berkeley and founder and editor-in-chief of the China Digital Times; Leila Janah, founder of Samasource; and Hal Roberts, fellow at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard University — participated in the Board’s discussions held in conjunction with the November BBG meeting.
The Board also agreed to make public, for the first time, the agency’s just-completed Language Service Review (LSR) Briefing Book, which includes summaries and analyses of marketplace conditions and global audience research. The briefing book soon will be available online at www.bbg.gov. The BBG is charged by Congress with conducting a comprehensive LSR each year to evaluate the mission and operation of its broadcast entities and to determine the addition or deletion of language services.
The November BBG meeting included research presentations by Gallup and Intermedia on the global operating environment for international broadcasting as part of the Board’s ongoing strategic review process. In addition, the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, Richard Lobo, provided analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the IBB.
In other actions, the Board also expressed continued concern about the fate of VOA reporter Abdumalik Boboev who was fined more than $10,000 by an Uzbek court. The Board will pursue all means possible to provide assistance to him and other journalists under threat. The Board also reiterated its firm commitment to upholding the firewall, which preserves the journalistic independence and integrity of BBG programming and maintains a separation from political and other interference from other parts of the federal government.
The meeting webcast is available on demand here. Board business documents including the Board’s resolution on implementing a model ethics program, its appointment of a Designated Agency Ethics Official as well as minutes from previous meetings can be found here.