Legislation

Technical amendments to the International Broadcasting Act

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017

Public Law 114-328

Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill: Dec 23, 2016.

One Hundred Fourteenth Congress of the United States of America

At the Second Session

S. 2943

AN ACT

To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2017 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.

1288Modification of United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994

The United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.; Public Law 103–236) is amended—

1by amending section 304 (22 U.S.C. 6203) to read as follows:

304Establishment of the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

aContinued existence within Executive branch.—

The Broadcasting Board of Governors shall continue to exist within the Executive branch of Government as an entity described in section 104 of title 5, United States Code.

bChief Executive Officer.—

1In general.—

The head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be a Chief Executive Officer, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, until such time as a Chief Executive Officer is appointed and has qualified, the current or acting Chief Executive Officer appointed by the Board may continue to serve and exercise the authorities and powers under this Act.

2Term.—

The first Chief Executive Officer appointed pursuant to paragraph (1) shall serve for an initial term of three years.

3Compensation.—

A Chief Executive Officer appointed pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be compensated at the annual rate of basic pay for level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code.

cTermination of Director of International Broadcasting Bureau.—

Effective on the date of the enactment of this section, the position of the Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau shall be terminated, and all of the responsibilities, offices, authorities, and immunities of the Director or the Board under this or any other Act or authority before such date of enactment shall be transferred or available to, assumed by, or overseen by the Chief Executive Officer, as head of the Board.

dImmunity from civil liability.—

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all limitations on liability that apply to the Chief Executive Officer shall also apply to members of the boards of directors of RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, or any organization that consolidates such entities when such members are acting in their official capacities.

;

2in section 305 (22 U.S.C. 6204)—

Ain subsection (a)—

iby striking “Board” each place it appears and inserting “Chief Executive Officer”;

iiin paragraph (1), by inserting “direct and” before “supervise”;

iiiin paragraph (5)—

Iby inserting “and cooperative agreements” after “grants”; and

IIby striking “in accordance with sections 308 and 309” and inserting “in furtherance of the purposes of this Act and on behalf of other agencies, accordingly”;

ivin paragraph (6)—

Iby striking “International Broadcasting Bureau” and inserting “Board”; and

IIby striking “subject to the limitations in sections 308 and 309 and”;

vin paragraph (10)—

Iby inserting “, rent, or lease” after “procure”; and

IIby striking “personal property” and inserting “property for journalism, media, production, and broadcasting, and related support services, notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to such acquisition, rental, or lease, and under the same terms and conditions as authorized under section 501(b) of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1461(b)), and for multiyear contracts and leases for periods of up to 20 years subject to the requirements of subsections (b) through (f) of section 3903 of title 41, United States Code”;

viin paragraph (11)—

Iby striking “staff”;

IIby striking “as the Board” and inserting “as the Chief Executive Officer”; and

IIIby striking “subject” and inserting “which shall not be subject”;

viiin paragraph (13)—

Iby striking “Bureau” and inserting “Board”; and

IIby striking “Board has taken” and inserting “Chief Executive Officer has taken”;

viiiin paragraph (14)—

Iby inserting “transmission or” before “relay”; and

IIby inserting “or any other grantee authorized under this Act” after “Radio Free Asia”;

ixin paragraph (15)(A), by striking—

I“temporary and intermittent”; and

II“to the same extent as is authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code,”;

xin paragraph (16), by striking “Board determines” and inserting “Chief Executive Officer determines”;

xiin paragraph (18), by striking “the Bureau” and inserting “the Chief Executive Officer”; and

xiiby adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

20Notwithstanding any other provision of law, including section 308(a), to condition, if appropriate, any grant or cooperative agreement to RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, or the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, or any organization that is established through the consolidation of such entities, on authority to determine membership of their respective boards, and the consolidation of such grantee entities into a single grantee organization under terms and conditions established by the Board.

21To redirect or reprogram funds within the scope of any grant or cooperative agreement, or between grantees, as necessary (and not later than 15 days before any such redirection of funds between language services, to notify the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate regarding such redirection), and to condition grants or cooperative agreements, if appropriate, on such grants or cooperative agreements or any similar amendments as authorized under section 308(a), including authority to name and replace the board of any grantee authorized under this Act, including with Federal officials, to meet the purposes of this Act.

22To change the name of the Board pursuant to congressional notification 60 days prior to any such change.

;

Bby striking subsections (b) and (c); and

Cby redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (b); and

Din subsection (b) (as so redesignated)—

iby striking “and the Board” and inserting “and the Chief Executive Officer”; and

iiiby striking “International Broadcasting Bureau” and inserting “Board”;

3by amending section 306 (22 U.S.C. 6205) to read as follows:

306Establishment of the International Broadcasting Advisory Board

aIn general.—

Except as provided in subsection (b)(2), the International Broadcasting Advisory Board (referred to in this section as the “Advisory Board”) shall consist of five members, including the Secretary of State, appointed by the President and in accordance with subsection (d), to advise the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, as appropriate.

bRetention of existing BBG board members.—

1In general.—

The presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed members of the Board of the Broadcasting Board of Governors who are serving on unexpired terms as of the date of the enactment of this section shall—

Aconstitute the first Advisory Board; and

Bhold office for the remainder of their original terms of office without reappointment to the Advisory Board.

2Effect of additional members.—

If, on the date of the enactment of this section, more than five members described in subsection (a) are serving their original terms of office on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, each such member may serve on the Advisory Board for a period equal to the time remaining on each such member’s respective term without reappointment.

cTerms of office.—

1In general.—

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the term of office of each member of the Advisory Board appointed pursuant to subsection (a) shall be three years.

2 Vacancies.—

If a vacancy on the Advisory Board occurs before the expiration of the term of the member who created such vacancy—

Athe President shall appoint a new member to fill such vacancy in accordance with subsection (d); and

Bthe member appointed pursuant to such subsection shall serve for the remainder of such term.

3Service beyond term prohibited.—

Members may not serve beyond the term for which they were appointed.

dSelection of the Board.—

In identifying individuals for appointment to the Advisory Board under subsection (a), the President shall appoint United States citizens—

1who, with the exception of the Secretary of State, are not regular, full-time employees of the United States Government; and

2 Vacancies.—

distinguished in the fields of public diplomacy, mass communications, print, broadcast or digital media, or foreign affairs, of whom—

Atone individual should be appointed from among a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;

Bone individual should be appointed from among a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives;

Cone individual should be appointed from among a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and

Done individual should be appointed from among a list of at least three individuals submitted by the Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

eFunctions of the Board.—

The members of the Advisory Board shall perform the following advisory functions:—

1To provide the Chief Executive Officer of the Broadcasting Board of Governors with counsel and recommendations for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency and its programming.

2To meet with the Chief Executive Officer at least twice annually and at additional meetings at the request of the Chief Executive Officer.

3To report periodically or upon request to the congressional committees specified in subsection (d)(2) regarding its counsel and recommendations for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and its programming.

4To obtain information from the Chief Executive Officer, as needed, for the purposes of fulfilling the functions described in this subsection.

fCompensation.—

Members of the Advisory Board, including the Secretary of State, may not receive any fee, salary, or remuneration of any kind for their service as members.

;

4by striking section 307 (22 U.S.C. 6206);

5in section 308 (22 U.S.C. 6207)—

Ain subsection (a)(1), by striking “of the Broadcasting Board of Governors established under section 304 and no other members” and inserting “authorized under section 305(a)(20)”;

Bby amending subsection (d) to read as follows:

dAlternative grantee.—

If the Chief Executive Officer determines at any time that RFE/RL, Incorporated is not carrying out the functions described in this section in an effective and economical manner, the Board may award the grant to carry out such functions to another entity.

; and

Cin subsection (g)(4)—

iby striking “International Broadcasting Bureau” and inserting “any other grantee of the Board”; and

iiby striking “by the Board” and inserting “by the Chief Executive Officer”; and

Din subsection (i), by striking “(1) Effective ” and inserting “Effective”;

6in section 309 (22 U.S.C. 6208)—

Ain subsection (f)(2), by striking “Chairman of the Board” and inserting “Chief Executive Officer of the Board”;

Bby redesignating subsection (g) as subsection (h); and

Cby inserting after subsection (f) the following new subsection:

gAlternative grantee.—

If the Chief Executive Officer determines at any time that Radio Free Asia is not carrying out the functions described in this section in an effective and economical manner, the Board may award the grant to carry out such functions to another entity.

;

7by inserting after section 309 (22 U.S.C. 6208) the following new sections:

310Broadcast entities reporting to Chief Executive Officer

aConsolidation of grantee organizations.—

1In general.—

The Chief Executive Officer, subject to the regular notification procedures of the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, who is authorized to incorporate a grantee, may condition annual grants to RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks on the consolidation of such grantees into a single, consolidated private, non-profit corporation (in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code), in such a manner and under such terms and conditions as determined by the Chief Executive Officer, which may broadcast and provide news and information to audiences wherever the agency may broadcast, for activities that the Chief Executive Officer determines are consistent with the purposes of this Act, including the terms and conditions of subsections (g)(5), (h), (i), and (j) of section 308, except that the Agency may select any name for such a consolidated grantee.

2Special rule.—

No State or political subdivision of a State may establish, enforce, or continue in effect any provision of law or legal requirement that is different from, or is in conflict with, any requirement or authority applicable under this Act relating to the consolidation, incorporation, structure, or dissolution of any grantee under this Act.

bMission.—

The consolidated grantee established under subsection (a) shall—

1counter state-sponsored propaganda which undermines the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States and its allies;

2provide uncensored local and regional news and analysis to people in societies where a robust, indigenous, independent, and free media does not exist;

3help countries improve their indigenous capacity to enhance media professionalism and independence, and develop partnerships with local media outlets, as appropriate; and

4promote unrestricted access to uncensored sources of information, especially via the internet, and use all effective and efficient mediums of communication to reach target audiences.

cFederal status.—

Nothing in this or any other Act, or any action taken pursuant to this or any other Act, may be construed to make such a consolidated grantee described in subsection (a) or RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Asia, or the Middle East Broadcasting Networks or any other grantee or entity provided funding by the agency a Federal agency or instrumentality. Employees or staff of such grantees or entities may not be Federal employees. For purposes of this section and this Act, the term “grant” includes agreements under section 6305 of title 31, United States Code, and the term “grantee” includes recipients of such agreements.

dLeadership of grantee organizations.—

Officers and directors of RFE/RL Inc., Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks or any organization that is established through the consolidation of such entities, or authorized under this Act, shall serve at the pleasure of and may be named by the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.

eMaintenance of the existing individual grantee brands.—

RFE/RL, Incorporated, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Incorporated should remain brand names under which news and related programming and content may be disseminated by the consolidated grantee. Additional brands may be created as necessary.

310AInspector General authorities

aIn general.—

The Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service shall exercise the same authorities with respect to the Broadcasting Board of Governors as the Inspector General exercises under the Inspector General Act of 1978 and section 209 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 3929) with respect to the Department of State.

bRespect for journalistic integrity of broadcasters.—

The Inspector General of the Department of State and the Foreign Service shall respect the journalistic integrity of all the broadcasters covered by this Act and may not evaluate the philosophical or political perspectives reflected in the content of broadcasts.

310BRole of the Secretary of State in foreign policy guidance

To assist the Board in carrying out its functions, the Chief Executive Officer shall regularly consult with and seek from the Secretary of State guidance on foreign policy issues.

; and

8in section 314 (22 U.S.C. 6213)—

Aby redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

Bby inserting after paragraph (1) the following new paragraph:

4the terms “Board” and “Chief Executive Officer of the Board” mean the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the position, respectively, authorized in accordance with this Act;

.