VOA self-censors in Russian elections

This interesting Op Ed piece points out that VOA could be in violation of US Public Law 94-350 by adhering to Russian media law with VOA FM broadcasts in Moscow. Of course, shortwave broadcasts continue to report VOA un-censored news:

(Source: Digital Journal)

Voice of America and Radio Liberty, funded by US taxpayers to promote media freedom abroad, self-censor news on two stations in Moscow to comply with Russian media law prior to Russia’s presidential elections on March 4.

US government-funded media freedom broadcasters, Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Liberty (Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, RFE RL), have resorted to self-censorship of their news to keep broadcasting on two leased radio stations in Moscow in the days leading up to Russian presidential elections. Self-censorship affects only their radio newscasts on two AM Moscow transmitters, which are leased and paid for by the US government to rebroadcast VOA and RL programs. It does not extend to their other program delivery options, such as their websites. The newscasts on these stations were changed in response to a request from Russian operators of the transmitters who had warned that broadcasting political programming or poll results several days before the elections would violate Russian media law.

Because uncensored VOA and RL newscasts are still available online and, in the case of Radio Liberty, also through shortwave radio transmissions, a spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which manages and funds these two broadcasters, said that the restrictions “do not interfere with the ability of the Voice of America or Radio Liberty to cover the elections or to carry on with their other duties.” In the case of the Voice of America, however, removing news even from some broadcasts may violate Public Law 94-350[…]

Continue reading at the Digital Journal online.

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