Washington, D.C. – At its February meeting, the Broadcasting Board of Governors recognized the dangers and challenges faced by BBG journalists around the world.
The Board renewed its call for information on missing Alhurra TV reporter Bashar Fahmi, who has been incommunicado for six months in Syria. Governor Dennis Mulhaupt, who presided over the meeting, also described an Internet attack in Tajikistan that blacked out RFE/RL’s Ozodi website and Facebook pages; the targeting of Radio Farda journalists in Iran with fake Facebook profiles, and a defamatory blogs; and a Chinese state television report making inflammatory and “absurd” accusations about VOA coverage of the self-immolations in Tibet.
Mulhaupt expressed the Board’s strong condemnation of such attacks. “They violate international standards by not only targeting journalists who are doing their jobs, but also by suppressing independent media,” he said.
The Board heard from broadcasting executives showcasing outstanding journalism from all of the BBG’s broadcasters, including timely news from war-torn Mali by the Voice of America and an in-depth interview by TV Marti with Solidarity leader Lech Walesa about Poland’s struggle to throw off the yoke of a repressive government in the 1980s.
Distinguished journalist and broadcast executive Kevin Klose was welcomed as Acting President and CEO of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In his report, Klose showcased RFE/RL’s moving report on the plight of an Afghan family of indentured servants, with children as young as six making bricks out of mud in order to get their family out of debt.
The Board heard updates from its Governance and the Strategy and Budget committees as well as reports on other initiatives and developments in the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). André Mendes, director of Technology, Services and Innovation at the IBB, briefed the Board on the agency’s latest efforts to combat censorship on the Internet and in ground-breaking program distribution platforms.
The Board’s next meeting is scheduled to be held on April 10-11, 2013.
Full video of the February meeting is available on demand.