BBG 2016 Budget Request Calls for Expansion in Key Markets and Technologies

A man watches Russian President Vladimir Putin on TV screens in an electronic hypermarket in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
A man watches Russian President Vladimir Putin on TV screens in an electronic hypermarket in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

WASHINGTON – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today released its detailed Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. The agency, which oversees civilian international news and information programs for people in more than 100 countries, is seeking $751.5 million to increase global engagement, move more aggressively into television and digital media, and support high priority audiences.

“Our goal is to help U.S. international media nimbly respond at a time of pressing national security challenges as well as dramatic shifts in the way people around the world engage with media,” said BBG Chairman Jeff Shell. “As authoritarian governments tighten their grip on media and extremist groups exploit it to sow hatred and fear, our role is to engage audiences and bring a trusted voice to those who need it most.”

The budget request prioritizes expanding avenues to reach Russian-speaking audiences. The proposed investment of $15.4 million would increase Russian-language TV programming, as well as grow multi-platform digital engagement efforts toward the region.

In accordance with U.S. foreign policy needs, the budget includes investments to expand outreach to key audiences to counter ISIL narratives and enable everyday citizens to have their voices heard. The proposal furthers migration to HD TV and digital media. The total funding for new investments is almost $28 million.

The 2016 budget includes a request for the BBG to establish an independent grantee organization to carry out broadcasting and related activities to Latin America and Cuba.

In addition, supporting a free and open Internet is included in the request, with $12.5 million in funds proposed in FY 2016 for the BBG’s Internet anti-censorship programs.

Proposed budget reductions include trimming administrative costs, harmonizing services and eliminating language overlaps, closing lower priority language services, and reducing related transmissions. The agency would save about $15.6 million under this budget request. Such reductions will be taken in order to sustain core journalistic operations.

The agency continues to leverage recent investments, corresponding to national security priorities, in programming and distribution in Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East.

Further information regarding the BBG’s FY 2016 budget submission can be found here in the FY 2016 Budget Request.

pie chart of budget request