July 01, 2010

Lugar Applauds Belated Confirmation of Broadcasting Board of Governors

U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar applauded the Senate’s confirmation yesterday of the full slate of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

The eight-member Board, whose names  were sent to the Senate in November 2009, is composed of four Republicans and four Democrats and  provides crucial oversight and policy guidance to America’s overseas broadcasting entities including the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Free Asia and Arabic-language Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa.

“This will be the first time since 2003 that the Broadcasting Board of Governors will be fully staffed, only the seventh time in the Board’s fifteen year history.  The challenges faced by the new Board range from a tight domestic budgetary environment to foreign regimes bent on jamming our broadcasts, blocking internet sites and intimidating and murdering journalists. The new Chairman –author and former CNN Chairman and former Managing Editor of Time Magazine, Walter Isaacson – brings impressive experience to the Board.  I also want to recognize and thank the four former Board members who kept our broadcasting efforts moving forward for the last eight years,” Lugar said.

The new members of the Broadcasting Board are: Chairman Walter Isaacson (D), Victor H. Ashe (R), Michael Lynton (D), Susan McCue (D), Michael P. Meehan (D), Dennis Mulhaupt (R), Dana M. Perino (R), and S. Enders Wimbush (R).

On June 9, Senator Lugar released a report entitled “U.S. International Broadcasting – Is Anybody Listening” (http://lugar.senate.gov/issues/foreign/diplomacy/) that noted the vacancy rate on the Board of Governors, was among the many issues affecting U.S. broadcasting.  The report highlighted recent technological developments used by the Voice of America and the other entities – including the use of new media such as Facebook and Twitter – as well as the challenges posed by the governments of Russia, China, Iran and others. A June 25 opinion piece by Lugar (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-dick-lugar/keeping-america-connected_b_625305.html) again called on his Senate colleagues to confirm the Board. 

Also on June 30, the House of Representatives passed Senator Lugar’s bill (S.3104) to grant Radio Free Asia permanent Congressional authorization – bringing it in line with the other U.S. Broadcasting entities.  That bill will now go to the President.

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Press Contact

Andy Fisher • 202-224-2079 • andy_fisher@lugar.senate.gov