BBG Watch: VOA coverage of H.R.4490 “lacks balance”

VOA-Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.53PM-EDT(Source: BBG Watch)

“It took Voice of America a few hours to post a report, which includes quotes by two outside opponents of the bill: former VOA deputy director Alan Heil and Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, but has no quotes from any outside supporters of the bill, including human rights NGOs, U.S. community leaders, and former Voice of America journalists who wrote a letter to President Obama in support of the legislation.

So much for balance in Voice of America news reporting as required by the VOA Charter.

For an alternative view, see BBG Watch report and commentary on the House passage of H.R. 4490, called the U.S. International Communications Reform Act of 2014.

If VOA English News quotes non-congressional critics of the bipartisan bill — there was no criticism of the bipartisan bill voiced today in Congress since it is widely supported as essential for saving Voice of America from mismanagement — VOA English News should have also quoted non-congressional supporters of the bill.”

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Hat tip to SWLing Post reader, Dan for sharing this post.

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One thought on “BBG Watch: VOA coverage of H.R.4490 “lacks balance”

  1. John Figliozzi

    From the post (actually, the BBG Watch) report, it sounds as if the the VOA reporting on this is way out to sea. However, after reading the actual VOA report, my take is that BBG Watch may be a tad too critical. The point the latter makes about directly quoting and naming two opposing voices without quoting or naming specific supporters is both valid and certainly not in keeping with the Charter. This is ironic because the principal concern of the opponents cited and quoted is the apparent conflict between the bill’s twin goals of supporting U.S. public diplomacy efforts (which sounds like pushing propaganda–a unified government point of view) and journalistic integrity (which would appear to demand “equal time” for domestic and foreign opponents of that point of view. There is further irony here as well since an “official” BBG view would be far less concerned about that, as evidenced by its “stewardship” of VOA, and more outraged by the bill’s targeting of the BBG’s mismanagement. Nonetheless, after acknowledging BBG Watch’s point, the VOA report does give ample explanation of the reasoning behind the bill and comes across in a way that I would describe as “slightly tilted” inasmuch as the reader could still come to the conclusion that the bill is warranted, as opposed to an out and out diatribe against it or a sabotaging of the effort.


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