Citing the “promising initiatives” of U.S. international broadcasting in the Arab world, Iran and Afghanistan, the bi-partisan panel investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks called for increased funding for those efforts.
“The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has asked for much larger resources,” the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States said in its report. “It should get them.”
Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the BBG, the independent federal agency that oversees all U.S. international broadcasting, said of the report’s recommendations, “We believe that the people of the Middle East and elsewhere are best served by providing them the truth. That’s what our broadcasting does.”
On page 377 of its report, the 9/11 commission made the following recommendation:
“Recognizing that Arab and Muslim audiences rely on satellite television and radio, the government has begun some promising initiatives in television and radio broadcasting to the Arab world, Iran, and Afghanistan. These efforts are beginning to reach large audiences.” The report said the BBG has asked for more money, and should get it.
Bolstering the need for U.S. broadcasting initiatives, the report said: “Local newspapers and the few influential satellite broadcasters — like al Jazeera — often reinforce the jihadist theme that portrays the United States as anti-Muslim.”
Currently, the BBG’s annual budget of more than $550 million goes to broadcasts around the world through various entities, including the Voice of America (VOA); Alhurra television and Radio Sawa, Arabic-language broadcasts; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Radio Free Asia (RFA.)
Since 9/11, the BBG has taken steps to dramatically increase its broadcasting to key areas.