VOA's Broadcasting Board of Governors Is Not Fulfilling Its Duties

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has not had a full board meeting with all members present for 16 months.

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It pains me to disagree publicly with my colleague, Michael Lynton, whose letter disagrees with the October 19 article by Elizabeth Flock on Voice of America, but the record should state that it reflects his views and not those of a unanimous board. I offer the following information:

The unfortunate truth is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees VOA, has not had a full board meeting with all members present in the same room in over 16 months. While some participate by phone, it is still not a substitute for face to face meetings.

Our BBG July meeting was canceled due to no shows and we skipped August. The September meeting failed to consider 85 percent of the agenda in a day meeting. The October meeting was reduced to a short morning meeting with numerous topics deferred due to a luncheon one member wished to attend instead of staying at BBG. The November 15 BBG meeting may not occur as two members will be in Japan and cannot call in, although the meeting was set a year ago.

Meanwhile, the Radio Free Europe audit committee has not met since May, despite an ongoing audit delving into questionable Moscow personnel firings, travel and compensation packages issues, and repeated calls for a meeting which have been ignored.

As we say in Tennessee, if you don't want to work, you should not hire out. I am proud to say that I have attended every meeting of BBG in person since I was confirmed by the U.S. Senate two years ago.

Victor Ashe


BBG Board member
Ambassador to Poland, 2004-2009