In countless ways and on a consistent basis, the Broadcasting Board of Governors oversees the federal agency that operates Voice of America. Your October 19 article ("Voice of America, 70 Years Later, Faces Bureaucratic Troubles") about VOA stated–unattributed–that we are "disinterested." But the six current appointed board members have been energetically engaged for more than two years in helping bring much-needed change to a venerable institution trying to adapt to today's complex media environment. We take our charge seriously.
The reporter attended just one public meeting and relied on an indeterminate number of anonymous sources to form conclusions about the board. Regarding our level of engagement, she did not consult all–or even most–of the board members or any of the agency staff who work most closely with us. Had she done so, she would have learned that each member of the board is actively involved via numerous meetings in person and by telephone, as well as continuous E-mail correspondence. Informed that the board spent a full year developing a strategy to modernize the agency and help it grow–a document that is available online–and told of the road map for structural reform that we devised and are now pursuing, she chose to ignore all that. Further, the observation that one of us has not attended a meeting in person since her move to New York is an error of omission that overlooks her attendance by phone and engagement behind the scenes.
There are many more problems with this story. It is a shame that the reporter omitted the views of people within and outside this agency who support what we are trying to achieve, as well as the impressive efforts by professionals in U.S. international broadcasting who are innovating every day to bring news and information to those without access to unfettered media.
The men and women who carry out our agency's mission, some at great personal cost, deserve better than this slanted, poorly-reported story. And so do your readers.
Michael Lynton, Presiding Governor
Broadcasting Board of Governors