News Brief

U.S. Defense Bill to Move Control of RFE/RL, VOA to White House

An amendment to an annual defense bill would dissolve the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG) and place Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and other government-backed media under the control of an executive appointed directly by the president. The bill is expected to pass and would bring tectonic changes for U.S.-financed media abroad, the Washington Post editorial board writes.

The executive would have authority to directly hire and fire senior management and control their budgets. Currently, the nine-member BBG votes on decisions concerning the outlets. The BBG is a panel of nine members, eight of whom are appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The ninth is the secretary of state. The board is bipartisan and was instated in order to put distance between the State Department to ensure editorial independence

The board supervises Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio y Television Marti, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.

Read the Washington Post’s editorial on how these changes could impact the editorial independence of U.S. media broad here.