CPJ Slams VOA Shakeup

The Society to Protect Journalists is not happy with the resignation of VOA leadership and the apparent new direction of the government-funded independent international broadcasting operations under the helm of new Agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack, saying the Trump Administration appears to be turning it into a propaganda arm. 

The Senate June 4 approved the nomination of conservative documentary filmmaker Michael Pack as head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) with the title CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  

Related: White House Slammed for Blocking VOA Access 

VOA director Amanda Bennett and her deputy, Sandra Sugawara, resigned June 15, VOA reported, saying that gave Pack the freedom to replace them with his own picks, though such resignations are more associated with political appointees at the change of administration's.  

President Trump has accused VOA of badmouthing the U.S. in the past, branding its broadcasts as "disgusting." VOA and other government-funded global media are specifically chartered as independent new outlets, not U.S. propaganda outlets. 

"It has become clear from the actions taken at the Voice of America and the Agency for Global Media that the intention of newly appointed director Michael Pack is to move the agency away from its charter and legal position of providing independent and unbiased reporting to that of a propaganda machine similar to those found in totalitarian states," CPJ said in a statement. 

“To keep going in the direction that the administration seems set upon will remove the very strength that has established VOA as a highly respected, professional news organization,” said CPJ president Patricia Gallagher Newberry. “It would be awful if VOA were to become a propaganda arm of the U.S. government.” 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.