By Helle Dale
administration’s budget proposal for the U.S. Agency for Global Media for fiscal
2020 reflects indifference—if not disdain—for the agency whose
self-proclaimed mission is to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world
in support of freedom and democracy.”
blueprint released on March 18 would reduce the budget for the agency, formerly
known as the
Broadcasting Board of Governors,
from $808 million to $688
million, a 15 percent reduction.
At a time when information warfare from international rivals, such as Russia and China, is an increasing challenge, the leadership of the agency itself and President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts warrant intense scrutiny.
unfortunate casualties of the proposed cuts are Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty’s Georgian Service, Tatar-Bashkir Service, and North
Europe/Radio Liberty cuts take the semi-independent broadcasting entity from
$124 million to about $86.8 million in 2020. Reductions will also hit their Balkans
Service by eliminating operations in Montenegrin and Macedonian.
These may be
small language services, but their function is critical, indeed central, to the
mission of the U.S. government’s international broadcasting. Independent media
are still in a developing stage in Georgia and the Balkans.
As for services aimed at the Caucasus, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty may be the only alternative to government media. Populations are starved for any independent, reliable news.
Blogging at Window on Eurasia, former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty assistant director Paul Goble makes an important point:
“The Putins and the Kadyrovs of this world will certainly be delighted by the Trump administration’s proposal,” Goble writes, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his protege, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. “But no one in Washington (outside the Russian Embassy, of course) should be pleased. They should recognize how important such broadcasts are to reaffirming what the United States stands for and how important that is for our friends in these places.”
Nor …read more
From:: Daily Signal – Feed