May 03, 2010

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Report Urges Reform Of Radio And TV Marti

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee majority staff has issued a report examining the effectiveness of Radio and TV Marti titled, “Cuba: Immediate Action Is Needed to Ensure the Survivability of Radio and TV Marti”.  Radio Marti was created in 1983 to support the Cuban people in their quest for “accurate, unbiased, and consistently reliable” news and current affairs. TV Marti, created in 1990, sought to expand Radio Marti’s goals with television programming.  The report finds that both outlets need to be revamped to accomplish those goals.    
“U.S. civil society programs may have noble objectives, but we need to examine whether we're achieving them,” said Chairman John Kerry. “It’s disappointing that, after 18 years, Radio and TV Marti have failed to make any discernable inroads into Cuban society or to influence the Cuban Government.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee report recommends ways that Radio and TV Marti can be made more effective. We have to reinvigorate people-to-people relations with Cuba and enhance our outreach to civil society.”
The report is based on extensive staff interviews with Radio and TV Marti officials, officials of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).  The report recommends:   
·         The International Broadcasting Bureau should move the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) to Washington, D.C., and integrate Radio and TV Marti with Voice of America (VOA).  Creating a VOA-Marti service would help ensure that the programming meets VOA standards. 
  • OCB must “return to the basics” to clean up its operation.  It must attract quality talent from outside of Miami, implement editorial standards, and attract topflight management.  OCB should spend less money on measuring audience size and focus more on quality programming.  Quality programming will increase the interest of Cubans seeking access to uncensored information. 
  • It is important that IBB improve guidance, training, and oversight for analysts performing program reviews, provide regular and comprehensive journalistic standards training, and ensure political and other inappropriate advertisements are not shown during OCB broadcasts. 
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