House Committee on Appropriations tells BBG to drop proposed cuts in VOA and RFA broadcasting to East Asia
Broadcasting Board of Governors
Fiscal year 2012 enacted level: $747,130,000
Fiscal year 2013 request: $720,149,000
Committee recommendation: $747,130,000
Change from request: +$26,981,000
Change from enacted level: $0
In addition, the fiscal year 2012 enacted level includes funds under this heading in title VTII designated
OCO/GWOT pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
The Committee recommendation includes $747,130,000 under this heading to carry out United States international communications activities and operations overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), of which, $740,100,000 is for international broadcasting operations and $7,030,000 is for broadcasting capital improvements.
INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS
The Committee recommendation for International Broadcasting Operations under this heading is $740,100,000, which is the same as the fiscal year 2012 enacted level and $28,542,000 above the request. In addition, the recommendation allows a transfer of funds to support broadcasting to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region
from funds appropiated in title VIII under the Economic Support Fund heading and designated as OCO/GWOT. The Committee expects that the fiscal year 2013 operating plan required by section 7076 of this Act will include the distibution of the transferred funds by BBG activity.
This account funds the operating, program, and engineering costs of Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio and TV Marti, and the BBG. The recommendation also includes funding for broadcasting to Cuba under this account.
Funds made available under the heading should be allocated in the following manner and are subject to the requirements of section 7019 of this Act.
The Committee recommendation continues a requirement that the BBG notify the Committees on Appropriations within 15 days of any determination by the Board that any of its broadcast entities were found to be in violation of the principles, standards, or journalistic code of ethics.
The Committee recommendation also continues the directive to expand unresticted access to information on the Internet through the development and use of circumvention technologies. The Committee commends BBG for its work in this area and requests that the operating plan required by section 7076 of the bill include amounts planned for internet freedom activities in fiscal year 2013.
Broadcasting to Asia. —The Committee supports maintaining a diversified broadcasting program to China that includes the continuation of short wave broadcast services. The Committee does not concur with the proposed cuts in VOA and RFA broadcasting to East Asia. The Committee directs the BBG to continue such broadcasts, including to China (Cantonese and Mandarin), Tibet, Laos, and Vietnam, at not less than the fiscal year 2012 levels as measured both by funding and broadcast platform hours.
The Committee recognizes the VOA for its essential contribution to the public diplomacy efforts of the United States. The Committee encourages VOA to examine the feasibility and cost of initiating broadcasting in the Sindhi language in Pakistan and be prepared to report on its findings during the Committee’s heaings on the
President’s fiscal year 2014 budget request.
With the exception of the proposed enhancements for news and current affairs television broadcasts to Egypt, the Committee recommendation does not include the funds requested for program enhancements. The Committee will consider those enhancements during the review of the BBG’s operating plan for fiscal year 2013, if acceptable savings are found from other activities.
Broadcasting to Afghanistan and Pakistan border region. —The Committee recommendation allows the Secretary of State to transfer funds to this heading from funds appropriated under the Economic Support Fund heading, and designated for OCO/GWOT, to support the extraordinary costs of both RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal and VOA’s Radio Deewa to ensure support of these activities at not less than the fiscal year 2012 level.
Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). —The Committee recommendation includes $28,062,000 for OCB, Radio and TV Marti, pursuant to the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1983 and the Television Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1990, which is the same as the fiscal year 2012 program level and $4,468,000 above the request.
BROADCASTING CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS
The Committee recommendation includes $7,030,000 for broadcasting capital improvements, which is the same as the fiscal year 2012 program level and $1,561,000 below the request.