BBG Renews Call for Information on Missing Journalists, Progresses toward Creation of a CEO Position, Condemns Libya Violence

Washington, D.C. — The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) renewed its call on the Syrian government to reveal what it knows about the whereabouts of two missing Alhurra journalists and underscored its condemnation of the attacks that claimed the lives of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three others.

During its meeting Sept. 13, the Board also reaffirmed its intention to create a position of Chief Executive Officer for United States International Broadcasting, as set out in its January 2012 meeting, and voted unanimously on a series of steps leading to the position’s creation under current law.

Alternative BBG Presiding Governor Dennis Mulhaupt highlighted the case of Alhurra journalist Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal who reportedly were seized by Syrian forces shortly after they entered Syria August 20. A video about the two was prepared by the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

“On behalf of the Board, I want to reiterate our call for Syrian officials to release any information they have on the capture and whereabouts of Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal,” Mulhaupt said.

Mulhaupt noted that, since the Board’s last meeting, there have been other serious incidents involving the harassment, interrogation, beating, home invasion and threats to BBG journalists in Tibet, Mali, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Angola, and Tajikistan.

“The Board condemns the ill-treatment of these individuals.… On behalf of the Board, I urge officials and local authorities to ensure the safety of all journalists operating in these locations,” he said.

Two days after U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans perished in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, the board reiterated its condemnation of the violence and its vow to maintain a robust news gathering presence in the area.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of these four brave Americans and extend our deepest sympathies to their loved ones,” Mulhaupt said.  “We condemn this cowardly act of violence in the strongest possible terms.”

The Board also unanimously approved resolutions honoring a pair recent retirees: BBG Legislative Coordinator Susan Andross and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty General Counsel John A. Lindburg.

View On-Demand Video of the Meeting:

Record of Decisions
Minutes of the BBG Meeting September 13, 2012
Minutes of the BBG Meeting June 7, 2012
Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity
Policy Statement on Sexual Harassment
Resolution Honoring Susan Andross
Resolution Honoring John A. Lindburg