U.S. international media’s approach aligns with National Security Strategy

The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for the Broadcasting Board of Governors will advance America’s national interests and work in tandem with the Administration’s National Security Strategy, according to BBG Chief Executive Officer and Director John F. Lansing. The strategic plan, entitled Information Matters: Impact and Agility in U.S. International Media, was presented to the Board during its March 14 meeting in Washington, D.C.

“This plan is a comprehensive roadmap for moving the Agency forward in the next five years, including significantly increasing our audience reach,” Lansing told the Board. “While we are an independent agency, we have chosen to align the plan with the Administration’s National Security Strategy, and it supports President Trump’s management priorities of effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability.”

The plan also incorporates the five priority initiatives that Lansing has outlined for the Agency: focusing on key issues and audiences, maximizing program delivery agility, enhancing strategic cooperation between networks, improving accountability and impact measurement, and targeting public-private partnerships.

At Lansing’s invitation, each of the five BBG networks gave examples of how they are operationalizing the plan. Voice of America Director Amanda Bennett debuted a new show called Plugged In With Greta Van Susteren that examines various aspects of United States policy by interviewing policy makers and discussions with opinion shapers. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Tom Kent described the network’s projects on countering violent extremism in Central Asia and the Balkans, as well as its ongoing coverage of Russia’s upcoming election. Office of Cuba Broadcasting Acting Director Andre Mendes presented the latest operational improvements to getting Radio and Television Marti’s content and programming on the island. Middle East Broadcasting Networks President Alberto Fernandez previewed two new programs set to launch on Alhurra.

Radio Free Asia President Libby Liu discussed the increased use of artificial intelligence and machine learning by the Chinese government to track dissidents, and in particular, China’s detention of close relatives of six U.S.-based reporters for RFA’s Uyghur Service in apparent retaliation for their coverage of the Xinjiang region. This action against RFA’s journalists was among other recent threats to BBG journalists highlighted by the Chairman of the Board, Kenneth Weinstein, as part of his opening remarks.