The U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, popularly referred to as the Smith-Mundt Act, specifies the terms in which the U.S. government can engage in public diplomacy. Among the provisions of the 1948 Act was “the creation of an information service to disseminate abroad information about the United States, its people, and policies.” A major vehicle to achieve this objective was the development of the international broadcasting station, Voice of America (VOA).
The Smith-Mundt Act is an educational exchange initiative established to “promote better understanding of the United States among the peoples of the world and to strengthen cooperative international relations.”
Section 501 of the Act was amended in 2013 allowing the Agency to make program materials available domestically, upon request, whenever doing so is consistent with all statutory authorities, prohibitions, principles, and standards.
Amending Smith-Mundt was part of the strategic plan adopted in 2011 by the governing board overseeing the BBG.
International Broadcasting Act
The Act consolidated all non-military, U.S. Government international broadcast services under the Agency now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
The International Broadcasting Act (IBA) was written in 1994 to streamline the U.S. international media and to provide a cost-effective way to continue Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Voice of America and Radio Martí.
The IBA was amended in 1998 to include the Secretary of State as a member of the board ex officio and repealed other sections as originally written.
The IBA was amended in 2017 to establish and authorize the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Agency. President Obama issued a signing statement with it.
To protect the integrity of VOA programming and define the organization's mission, the VOA Charter was drafted in 1960 and later signed into law on July 12, 1976, by President Gerald Ford.
All of theUSAGM’s broadcasting Standards and Principles are consistent with the U.S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994, as amended.