Amidst controversy over the politicization of RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, RADIO FREE ASIA, and MIDDLE EAST BROADCASTING NETWORKS by TRUMP-appointed U.S. AGENCY FOR GLOBAL MEDIA CEO MICHAEL PACK, the agency has appointed new boards for the three stations, each consisting of the same five conservative appointees.
The boards are now chaired by conservative radio talk show host BLANQUITA CULLUM, a former Governor of USAGM predecessor BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS; LIBERTY COUNSEL Dir./Sr. Counsel for Government Affairs JONATHAN ALEXANDER; 1AMDC PRODUCTIONS Dir./Founder and former WHITE HOUSE staffer AMANDA MILIUS; PJ MEDIA founder and conservative writer ROGER SIMON; and CENTER FOR THE NATIONAL INTEREST Dir./Sr. Fellow and former STATE DEPARTMENT speechwriter CHRISTIAN WHITON.
CULLUM said, “From my previous service on the BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS, I understand the importance of delivering objective, accurate news about AMERICA and the world to combat our adversaries’ misinformation campaigns and to shine the light of truth into those dark corners where access to a free press is denied. The other board members and I will fight to ensure these networks and their journalists have the tools and support they need to perform their difficult but essential work, which itself is crucial for our national interest.”
Several incidents since PACK’s appointment have raised concern about the independence of the stations and the VOICE OF AMERICA, notably the demotion of VOA reporter PATSY WIDAKUSWARA after she asked questions of Secretary of State MIKE POMPEO and the reassignment of News Dir. YOLANDA LOPEZ. 26 VOA journalists, in a statement released last week, have demanded the resignation of VOA Director ROBERT REILLY and Deputy Dir. ELIZABETH ROBBINS for allowing POMPEO to broadcast what they called a “propaganda event” on the VOA and then reassigning WIDAKUSWARA.