Thank You! We Did It.

Dear all, Tashi Deleg! We want to thank you so much for your support in your efforts to save the Voice of America’s Tibetan radio broadcasting. Ever since the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has submitted the 2013 budget proposal , in which VOA Tibetan Radio was among those proposed to be eliminated (!), you all showed how strongly you disagreed with this proposal and got up there and worked hard and persisted that your voice be heard. You pointed out that there was too much at stake for America and our core values we uphold and champion, and for the world at large, and of course, for the suffering people of Tibet. Consequently, you spread the word , you wrote to your members of Congress , personally met many of them or their staff, and even held a protest rally against the decision of the BBG  – these and for all other forms of support you rendered, WE THANK YOU!  AND REMAIN EVER GRATEFUL!

 Though the 2013 budget process is not complete, the major development that we would like to share with you is regarding the  decision that was made at the  Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)’s  meeting in Florida on Friday, April 20, 2012. That day the Board proposed and approved to restore funding for VOA Tibetan (and Cantonese) radio per its China Strategy and “ in response to the inquiries from Congress and other stake- holders…..” The following release from the BBG’s website is self-explanatory

Board Forges Ahead With China Strategy, Adapted to Modern Media Environment and Audience Needs

April 20, 2012

 

Miami, Fl, April 20, 2012 – The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today announced a renewed strategy for broadcasting to China that will be reflected in the ongoing dialogue with Congress about the Agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget.

“China’s highly competitive media market and its government’s aggressive jamming of BBG content are long-standing challenges,” said BBG board member Michael Meehan. “Beijing blocks media of many kinds and aggressively stifles free expression, especially in regions where dissent continues to arise in the open, such as Tibet.  While the Board understands the reality of the current budget environment, it also perceives a pressing need for the news and information that we provide to be seen and heard across China and Tibet.”

In response to inquiries from Congress and other stake-holders, the Agency is developing alternatives that take into account the roles of Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan Radio, along with VOA Cantonese TV programming and VOA satellite TV capability in China.

At the April meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, the Board asked that key senior staff form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet.

The funding increase required in order to implement the board’s China distribution strategy totals approximately $3 million for FY 2013. The Board directed top agency management to identify various areas to offset the cost of the new strategy, including migrating satellite frequencies to the KU band and accelerating other transmission optimizations.

This was one of several key initiatives discussed today at the Board’s meeting, held this month in Miami at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

An account of those initiatives, as well as reports and other documents, will be posted on the Agency’s website, www.BBG.gov. The Board’s April 2012 open meeting is available for on-demand viewing here.

BBG member Michael Meehan and Radio Free Asia president meet with Dalai Lama

By BBGWatcher on 30 April 2012 in Featured News, Hot Tub Blog, Successes with No Comments

BBG member Michael Meehan

Michael Meehan

In a meeting last Thursday in Chicago with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors Michael Meehan and the president of Radio Free Asia (RFA) Libby Liu discussed “the BBG’s plan to strengthen U.S. international broadcasting through the Voice of America’s Tibetan service and RFA.”  The announcement about the meeting with Dalai Lama was posted on the Broadcasting Board of Governors website.

Meehan and another BBG member Victor Ashe were in the forefront of efforts to reverse an earlier Broadcasting Board of Governors’ decision to end VOA Tibetan radio broadcasts, close down the VOA Cantonese Service and reduce some of Radio Free Asia shortwave radio programs. Another BBG member Susan McCue also made a public statement in support of continuing VOA radio broadcasts to Tibet and to China.

The cuts were recommended by the BBG executive staff and initially supported by the majority of BBG members. Some claimed privately later that the BBG staff did not brief them fully on the programming cuts in the FY 2013 budget proposal and did not provide them with sufficient input from the public.

The decision to disavow these cuts was made at the BBG meeting in Miami on April 20. It was unanimously approved.

###

Official Broadcasting Board of Governors announcement:

The Dalai Lama during a 2011 visit to RFA headquarters in Washington

The Dalai Lama during a 2011 visit to RFA headquarters in Washington

Dalai Lama Discusses BBG And Tibet With Meehan, Liu

Chicago — In a meeting today with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the president of Radio Free Asia discussed the BBG’s plan to strengthen U.S. international broadcasting through the Voice of America’s Tibetan service and RFA.

“We discussed the importance of not simply maintaining our programing, but also expanding our reach and positive impact,” said Michael Meehan, co-chair of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee.

“The Tibetan people go to great risk to hear our programing, and I reassured His Holiness that the BBG is fully committed to the highest quality news and information both inside and outside Tibet,” Meehan said.

RFA President Libby Liu also attended the meeting.

Last week the Board unanimously approved a renewed strategy for broadcasting to China that will be reflected in the ongoing dialogue with Congress about the Agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget.

The agency is developing alternatives that take into account the roles of RFA and VOA Tibetan Radio, along with VOA Cantonese TV programming and VOA satellite TV capability in China.

At the April meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, the board asked key senior staff to form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).

http://www.usgbroadcasts.com/bbgwatch/2012/04/30/bbg-member-michael-meehan-and-radio-free-asia-president-meet-with-dalai-lama/

Association of Tibetan Journalists appeals to U.S. Congress to save Voice of America radio to Tibet

By BBGWatcher on 30 April 2012 in Congress, Featured News, Hot Tub Blog, Statements with No Comments

The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) decision to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet produced worldwide protests from independent journalists and human rights groups. In response to these protests, the BBG announced at its recent meeting in Miami that it will continue these broadcasts in the next fiscal year but has not yet identified specific funding.

One of the organizations protesting the BBG’s decision to terminate VOA Tibetan radio is the Association of Tibetan Journalists based in Dharamsala, India. These Tibetan journalists working in exile have appealed to the United States Congress “to continue its support for the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service on the grounds of the principles of right to information and freedom of expression.” The appeal was addressed to the House Appropriations Committee.

The Association of Tibetan Journalists' appeal to U.S. Congress to save Voice of America radio broadcasts to Tibet.Open Letter to Members of House Appropriations Committee

25 April 2012

Dear Members of Congress,

This is a letter of appeal requesting your support for the continuation of the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service broadcast inside Tibet in the FY2013 Budget.

We, the Association of Tibetan Journalists (ATJ) based in Dharamsala, India, appreciate all the efforts and support by the US Government towards the Voice of America Tibetan Section since 1991. However with the current spate of Self-Immolations by Tibetans against the repressive Chinese Government policies we believe that this is not the time or the place where free media and right to information for the Tibetans inside Tibet is cut-off on any grounds whatsoever. Not only that, as reported by Reporters without Borders, Tibetan Writers have been arbitrarily arrested and major blogs like sangdhor.com and rangdrol.net have been shut down. Such is the situation inside Tibet.

Especially in Tibetan Autonomous Areas (TAR), with the massive censorship, Voice of America Tibetan Radio service is one of the most important uncensored media, which is available. Dolma, a recent arrival from Lhasa, Tibet states that, “I and many like me used to listen secretly to VOA Tibetan service to get information not only about the International news but also about what is happening in other parts of Tibet. I feel that VOA Tibetan service not only gives me information but I also learned a lot about Tibetan culture and history”.

We on behalf of the voices from inside Tibet would like to urge the US congress to continue its support for the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service on the grounds of the principles of right to information and freedom of expression.

The ATJ was established in 1997 and is an independent non-profit organization that aims to facilitate the free, fair and accurate delivery of news and information regarding Tibetan communities both inside and outside of Tibet. We have over 30 members in India and Nepal working for media organizations including Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Voice of Tibet, Tibet Times and Tibet Express.

Yours Sincerely,

Ms. Lhakpa Kyizom
President, Association of Tibetan Journalists

Mr. Gurbum Gyal
Vice President, Association of Tibetan Journalists

http://www.usgbroadcasts.com/bbgwatch/2012/04/30/association-of-tibetan-journalists-appeals-to-u-s-congress-to-save-voice-of-america-radio-to-tibet/

Congressional Contact Information

US_Senate_&_Congeress_Contact

Stop the Voice of America’s Tibetan Language Radio from going silent for the Tibetan people.

             

In the FY2013 budget proposal, the Broadcasting Board of Governors plans on eliminating the Voice of America’s Tibetan language radio to Tibet.

The Tibetan People are burning with anguish and pain at this moment

This comes at a period when Tibet is literally burning, and China’s repression and crackdowns on the Tibetan people are at their harshest and most violent. Twenty five young people, mostly monks and  nuns, have self-immolated to draw attention to the attacks  on Tibetan religion and culture. China’s response has been to crackdown harder, conduct beatings and detentions and inflict painful and humiliating ‘re-education’ programs at Tibetan religious institutions.

Wrong political message to the Chinese Communist Party

Cutting this lifeline for Tibetans in their hour of need sends a wrong message to China. China will understand it to mean that decimation of Tibetan religion and culture, and indeed their very identity, will now be overlooked by America. And to the Tibetan people, it will be a heartbreaking blow from a nation that Tibetans love, respect, and consider a friend in stormy weather.

        VOA Tibetan language radio is a unique source of information for Tibetans

A recent NPR report on the Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet said, “The monks listen secretly to Voice of America’s Tibetan service news every night, despite feeling almost physical pain at the bleak news.” That’s because ever since 1991, when the Voice of America was mandated by an act of Congress to start its Tibetan language service, it has been the only international broadcast into Tibet that provides world news, US news, the activities and efforts of the Dalai Lama for his people, and information and analysis on the workings of the free world to Tibet. And today, VOA Tibetan radio is still the only one that gives all of that to the Tibetan people.

Shortwave radio is still a powerful medium in Tibet

Shortwave radio remains a cheap, easily concealed, and thus the safest mode of getting news and information in Tibet. Radio signals are jammed by the Chinese in town centers, but in the rural areas where the vast majority of Tibetans live, Voice of America’s radio is loud and clear.

The Dalai Lama said that Voice of America Tibetan radio is “vital medicine” for Tibetans, and the Tibetan people consider it as one of the most valuable and priceless gifts from the people and government of the United States to them.

Save VOATibetan radio on behalf of the millions of Tibetans living under extreme oppression, and the American people who have supported the plight of the Tibetans for over 50 years.

Please send this letter to your representative to save Voice of America Tibetan Radio

Here is the sample letter:

Name of Rep.

Address

Date:

Your Excellency

We have learnt that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has proposed to eliminate the entire radio broadcast segment of the Voice of America’s Tibetan service, in the 2013 budget proposal.  At a time when Tibet is under severe repression, access to information from the free world is all the more vital. Therefore, the US administration and its subsidiary BBG’s proposal to silence  the voice of Tibetans through its proposed elimination of VOA’s Tibetan radio program is,  not only contrary to the goals and objectives of VOA’s existence,  but unfathomable in justification.

As the first truly independent Tibetan radio news service, established by an act of Congress in 1990, VOA Tibetan service  through the variety of its program, objectivity,  professionalism and news dissemination capability, has not only  deservedly earned the reputation for its reliability but has established one of the largest audience base both inside and outside Tibet.  BBG’s proposal to eliminate the VOA Tibetan radio not only cuts Tibetan access to news and information  from within and outside Tibet but helps Chinese authorities accomplish their aim of controlling free flow of communication and information. Eliminating the Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcast to Tibet sends a wrong message to the Chinese government that their continuing abuse of human rights, repressive and restrictive Tibet policies are acceptable.

For Tibetans and all those who value human rights, freedom and democracy, BBG’s proposal to eliminate VOA Tibetan radio broadcast is very unfortunate  and most troubling. VOA Tibetan radio is a lifeline for the Tibetans inside Tibet and a pride and prestige of the United States.

We request you to please use all your influence to stop eliminating VOA Tibetan radio broadcast into Tibet. We cannot afford to abandon the desperate Tibetans in Tibet at this critical time.

We thank you for your attention to this matter,

Sincerely,

 

Your name

Address

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.