Sunday, July 24, 2011

VOA China scores small victory in battle for survival

It remains unclear whether, if passed, the amendment would save the 40 jobs or so that are to be cut if VOA ceases all traditional broadcasts in Cantonese and Mandarin to China

The battle to keep Voice of America’s (VOA) Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts to China alive continued in the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday with a unanimous vote for a proposal that would secure money for the embattled China unit.

The authorization bill, sponsored by US Representative Dana Rohrabacher during a markup hearing, reserves US$13.76 million from the total budget for government-sponsored broadcasting next year to be strictly used for Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts. That amount is equal to thie operational budget for VOA’s China unit for FY2011.

“Of the funds to be appropriated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors [BBG], [US]$13.76 million is authorized to be appropriated only for Voice of America Mandarin and Cantonese-language radio and satellite television broadcasting,” it says. “Such funds may not be used for any other purpose.”

The authorization bill was included in the State Department Authorization Act for FY2012. It is now scheduled for a markup hearing at the Appropriations Subcommittee on July 27.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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