Saturday, October 1, 2016

BBG reviews internet freedom initiative and programming for women, extremism

"BBG reviews internet freedom initiative and programming for women, extremism," [original article contains links and a video]

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The Broadcasting Board of Governors met at its Washington, D.C. headquarters on September 28, 2016 to receive status reports from each of the five BBG networks and to discuss BBG programming in key topic areas.

BBG CEO and Director John Lansing presented his report along with representatives from the International Broadcasting Bureau and network heads of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Middle East Broadcasting Network, Radio Free Asia and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.

Lansing updated the Board on agency-wide initiatives to counter violent extremism and on programming for women and girls.

“It’s noted that communities where women and girls participate in civic life are safer, generally more stable, more equal and ultimately are better partners for the United States,” said Lansing. “Unfortunately this sort of equality is difficult in many of the markets where we operate. In many cases we are the only potential platform to give voice to the voiceless women.”

Other agency highlights included OCB Director Malule Gonzalez’s readout of the recent OCB-hosted Cuba Internet Freedom Conference. The conference, which took place during Social Media Week Miami, brought together journalists, innovators and other individuals for talks focused on improving digital rights in the country. The event included a panel discussion featuring Alan Gross, the former U.S. government contractor jailed on the island for attempting to establish Internet access for a minority group.

Additionally, VOA Director Amanda Bennett briefed the Board on a recent town hall meeting which brought together Somali communities in Mogadishu, Somalia and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bennett showed a clip from the town hall during which Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who took questions from the crowd on topics ranging from terrorism to education, thanked VOA for hosting the event.

The Board was also introduced to Dr. Nnake Nweke, director of its newly created Office of Internet Freedom. Dr. Nweke will lead the development of the BBG’s strategies on combating internet censorship and will study its impact on BBG programming.

Minutes, documents and a video recording are available on the BBG website.

About the BBG

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media. Its mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. 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). BBG programming has a measured audience of 226 million in more than 100 countries and in 59 languages.

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