U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors Chair denied access to Russia

BBG Chairman Jeff Shell was denied entry into Russia and detained at Moscow’s Sheremetevo Airport last night after arriving shortly before midnight on a flight from Prague. Shell was denied entry into the country despite having a valid passport and Russian visa, and subsequently detained in a locked room for several hours, before being accompanied by Russian security officials to board a flight to Amsterdam. No explanation has yet been given to Shell, or the BBG, for his detention.

Shell told colleagues with whom he was traveling that airport security authorities told him the denial of entry into Russia has permanent status and is “a life-time ban.”

BBG officials met with U.S. Ambassador John Tefft in Moscow this morning to discuss the incident and to thank the Ambassador and the U.S. Department of State for their urgent attention to the matter.

Mr. Shell is a Presidential appointee who serves in a part-time capacity as Chairman of the Board that oversees all U.S. international media. He is also the chairman of NBCUniversal’s Filmed Entertainment Division.

About the BBG

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media. Its mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. 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). BBG programming has a measured audience of 278 million in more than 100 countries and in 58 languages.

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Contact Nasserie Carew
Director of Global Communications & Office of Public Affairs,
Office of Public Affairs