Budget request reflects long-term strategy, changing media environment

Washington, DC The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today released its FY 2013 budget request, which contains a set of strategic measures to advance its core mission and meet the challenges of the changing global media environment within current spending constraints.

“In these times of fiscal austerity, the BBG faces tough choices,” Board members said in a message to agency employees.  “And we are not alone:  Every branch and each element of the federal government has had to take a hard look at itself to achieve efficiencies without sacrificing its essential work on behalf of our country.”

Noting the extraordinary coverage in the past year of the Arab Spring, conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, ferment in Iran and Russia, the struggle over Tibet and other developments in China, the humanitarian disaster in East Africa, and human rights in Cuba and around the world, the Board affirmed, “U.S. international broadcasting will continue to serve people the world over who lack access to accurate, credible news and who need lifeline information.  Our record audience of 187 million people in 2011 attests to the importance and success of your work. “

For FY 2013 the BBG has requested more than $720 million for U.S. international broadcasting, a decrease of 4.2 percent from FY 2012.  This request supports U.S. foreign policy priorities and is grounded in the five-year strategy adopted by the Board in October 2011. The proposals in it include retooling to reach strategically important audiences from Cuba to China and build out the agency’s digital infrastructure.

The request contains $9 million in increases that would:

•             create weekly television programs and related new media efforts for Egypt

•             add satellite TV broadcasts to Central Asia

•             elevate and expand social media

•             emphasize innovation across media platforms, and

•             revamp content and delivery to be more competitive.

It also contains $11.6 million in censorship-fighting Internet circumvention funding to continue the deployment of emerging technologies and partnerships with cutting-edge experts, developers and in-country networks.

The FY 2013 budget request includes program, transmission and staffing reductions at the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and the International Broadcasting Bureau, in part through efforts to restructure operations and end duplication. While four broadcast languages are proposed for elimination, the budget request preserves broad-based service in diverse vernacular languages to meet the needs of BBG audiences worldwide. The request also cuts more than $21 million in administrative and technical support costs throughout the agency and grantee organizations.

Board members acknowledged that some of the proposed changes will create anxiety, if enacted, and present very difficult circumstances for the men and women involved, but they affirmed, “We will do everything possible to limit the impact on our employees through a combination of agency buyouts, early-out authority and reducing positions via attrition.”

The BBG FY 2013 budget request is available at http://j.mp/wp6vZu.

Contact: BBG office of Public Affairs 202-203-4400

FY 2013 Budget Submission

The President’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2013, sent to the Congress February 13, 2012, includes $720 million for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a decrease of 4.2 percent from the FY 2012 appropriation level.

Download 2013 Budget Submission (PDF 5.9M)