Radio of the Martial Law Thirty years ago, on December 13, 1981, General Wojciech Jaruzelski had declared martial law in Poland, imprisoning Lech Walesa and other Solidarity Trade Union leaders. The Polish communist rulers placed the country under a complete information blockout, but thanks to radio programs in Polish from the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe (RFE)…
In a paper published by the Public Diplomacy Council, Alan L. Heil Jr., a former deputy director of VOA, the author of Voice of America: A History, argues for a multi-platform U.S. international broadcasting that in addition to new media takes advantage of both radio and television. In his paper LANDSCAPE OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING VOA and the BBC at a…
By Ted Lipien Published August 19, 2011 by Digital Journal Washington – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) executives have done a lot to damage U.S. radio and TV programs for audiences abroad nearly beyond repair. The latest crisis at the agency, which manages U.S. government-funded overseas broadcasts, involves appeasing a dictatorial regime in Africa, censoring Voice of America (VOA) news,…
FreeMediaOnline.org Truckee, CA, USA, July 28, 2011 –Press freedom advocates and Ethiopian Americans are declaring a partial victory in their fight with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. government agency, over the censorship of the Voice of America radio programs to Ethiopia. They credit massive protests and a demonstration held Monday in front of the BBG and VOA headquarters in Washington, DC with getting a senior Voice of America official to tell the journalists working for the Horn of Africa VOA Service “to continue their work without any restrictions or self-censorship,” the Ethiopian American news website Addis Voice reported.
Link to the demonstration video 1
Link to the demonstration video 2
FreeMediaOnline.org San Francisco, CA, USA, July 24, 2011 — Leaders of the Ethiopian American community joined by free media advocates are planning a protest rally on Monday, July 25, in front of the Voice of America (VOA) building in Washington, DC amid charges of censorship of VOA news programs to Ethiopia by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). According to Voice of America broadcasters who spoke on the condition that their names not be revealed because they fear reprisals, the BBG has tried to silence VOA journalist David Arnold who encouraged reporting that upset BBG members as well as officials of the Ethiopian regime. VOA journalists have complained of their reports being removed by the management from VOA websites and of being prevented from covering important political events. In a situation reminiscent of Soviet and East European communist media controls, a high-level manager reportedly forbade VOA Africa Division journalists to take written notes during a staff meeting in which complaints about censorship were raised. The BBG is a presidentially-appointed bipartisan group which runs VOA and other government-funded U.S. international broadcasters and is supposed to promote freedom of expression and anti-censorship efforts around the world, but has been accused of negotiating with repressive regimes, terminating VOA radio and TV programs to countries that restrict media freedom, including Russia and China, and firing VOA journalists who specialize in human rights reporting. BBG and VOA managers have been putting pressure on broadcasters to limit political reporting in favor of human-interest stories as a way of persuading various regimes to allow placement of such reports on local stations and websites. Numerous government surveys have rated the BBG as one of the worst-managed federal agencies. Independent journalists fighting censorship abroad have accused the BBG of being confused about its mission.
TedLipien.com, Truckee, California, USA, May 01, 2011 — In a public diplomacy blunder likely to offend American Catholics, Polish-American voters and people in Poland, the Obama Administration failed to send a high-ranking American official to the beatification ceremonies for Pope John Paul II, which were held today at the Vatican. Many other religious and ethnic groups in America are also likely to be disturbed by the failure of President Obama to attend the ceremony himself or to send a special delegation headed by Vice President Biden. The White House could have also dispatched Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or prominent members of the U.S. Congress from both political parties. The United States was represented at the ceremony only by Miguel Diaz, the ambassador to the Vatican. This is considered the lowest level of representation at an important event of this kind. King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium led the list of royalty present and 16 heads of state and several prime ministers attended, including Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.
FreeMediaOnline.org Truckee, CA, USA, April 1, 2011– The Washington Times has published an op-ed by Free Media Online president Ted Lipien urging Congress to stop the Broadcasting Board of Governors from silencing the Voice of America radio to China. A Chinese free labor union leader like Poland’s Lech Walesa could be declared expendable by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which…
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, March 1, 2011 — In this series of analyses for Free Media Online (FreeMediaOnline.org) — U.S. International Broadcasting in Crisis— Ted Lipien, former Voice of America acting associate director, examines recent Broadcasting Board of Governors’ decisions, with a focus on the latest controversial plan to completely eliminate Voice of America on-the-air radio broadcasts to China.
While officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) tell members of Congress that shortwave radio in China is dead and announce plans to terminate all Voice of America shortwave broadcasts to China in Cantonese and Mandarin, California-based Sound of Hope Radio (SOH) has announced plans to expand its shortwave programs targeting Mainland China, The Epoch Times newspaper reported. Sound of Hope Bucks the Trend and Expands Broadcasts to China | Read The Epoch Times article in Chinese.
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, February 28, 2011 — In this series of analyses for Free Media Online (FreeMediaOnline.org) — U.S. International Broadcasting in Crisis — Ted Lipien, former Voice of America acting associate director, examines recent Broadcasting Board of Governors’ decisions, with the focus on the latest controversial plan to completely eliminate Voice of America on-the-air radio broadcasts to China.
FreeMediaOnline.org Part One — No Apology for Failure
Like everyone else in the free media advocacy community, I was appalled by the Iranian Cyber Army’s attack last week on VOA websites. The staging of the attack did not come as a surprise. The Iranian Islamists, security services of China and Russia, and other enemies of free media around the world are engaging in cyber attacks and harass independent media all the time. The appalling thing about the Monday attack was not that it was launched but that it was allowed to succeed and lasted several hours.
Instead of the VOA website, site visitors saw an Iranian flag, a gun, and an anti-American message, as captured in the image above. Even more appalling was the cavalier attitude with which officials of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal agency which manages the Voice of America, responded to the attack. It was a typical cover-my-behind reaction and an attempt to minimize its significance and impact around the world. Just imagine if CNN, ABC, or Fox News went completely silent for several hours or even days. If BBG officials have their way, this is what will happen in China to the Voice of America. It had already happened to VOA in Russia for at least two days in 2009. There was no apology from the BBG to the American people on whose behalf the Voice of America distributes news and communicates with the rest of the world.
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, February 28, 2011 — Ted Lipien’s commentary for Free Media Online (FreeMediaOnline.org). Like everyone else in the free media advocacy community, I was appalled by the Iranian Cyber Army’s attack last Monday on VOA websites. The staging of the attack did not come as a surprise. The Iranian Islamists, security services of China and Russia, and other…
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, February 08, 2011 — One would think that the centennial of Ronald Reagan’s birthday could be a perfect public diplomacy theme for all U.S. embassies in Central and Eastern Europe — a great opportunity for embassy-sponsored events to strengthen ties with America among diverse nations that owe their current independence and freedom in large part to President Reagan’s vision combined with his steadfastness in standing up to the “Evil Empire.” And yet, both highly-trained and highly-paid U.S. diplomats working in the countries of the former Soviet Block by and large completely ignored the anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday. Only two diplomatic post out of more than a dozen in the region sponsored a public event designed to remind older and younger generations of East Europeans of Ronald Reagan’s contribution to freeing them from Soviet domination.
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, January 06, 2011 The following is not a State Department cable. It was not written by The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and was not leaked by Wiki Leaks: SECRET 1. I know I could not get President Obama to go on TV to say something about Belarus. You may try to…
TedLipien.com, Truckee, CA, January 03, 2011 — The following is not a State Department cable. It was not written by The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and not leaked by Wiki Leaks:
TOTALLY TOP SECRET
PARA 5 & 6 ATT. U.S. EMBASSY WARSAW
SUBJECT: Ronald Reagan As A Subversive Model for U.S. Public Diplomacy in Former Soviet Block Countries
En ce moment, il n’y a plus de pilote dans l’avion. [At the moment, there is no longer a pilot on the plane.] — A European comment on President Obama as a leader of the Free World.
TedLipien.com, Truckee, California, USA, January 03, 2011 — Who is the leader of the Free World when democracy is under threat?
TedLipien.com, Truckee, California, December 28, 2010 — I wrote earlier about unbalanced coverage by the Voice of America English Service of the START treaty debate in the U.S. Senate.
Here is another stunning example of a completely one-sided report by VOA on U.S.-Russian relations. There is not a single sentence in this report about Congressional or any other U.S. domestic or international criticism of President Obama’s approach to managing relations with the Kremlin.
In my entire career with VOA spanning more than two decades, I’ve never seen such government PR being presented as thought-provoking, objective and balanced news and information. Not a word about critical comments by Senator John McCain, Senator George Voinovich, Senator Jim DeMint, or Senator Mitch McConnell.