NEWARK – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement after Michael Pack, CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), repealed the editorial independence firewall rule designed to protect the work of the USAGM’s networks and grantees from political interference:
“Editorial independence and integrity is a statutorily-mandated component of USAGM’s work. This principle sets the networks and grantees apart from state-run propagandistic media in the countries in which they operate. Arbitrarily rescinding the regulatory firewall is not only an attack on USAGM’s independence, it is an affront to the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that have come to rely on these critical services.
“After his wholesale firing of USAGM’s network leaders, abrupt dissolution of their boards, and forced reassignment of editors, Michael Pack’s rescinding of the agency’s editorial independence firewall crystalizes his commitment to atrophying the USAGM into a right-wing media ecosystem funded by American taxpayers.
“Mr. Pack has proven he is nothing more than a Trojan horse for those who wish to undermine U.S. efforts in support of free, fair, and independent journalism. All of my colleagues in Congress need to stand with us to stop this nonsense and ensure that the reporters, editors, and producers at all of USAGM’s grantees can continue their critical work without political influence from this White House or anyone else.”