Ted Lipien, a former Voice of America (VOA) acting associate director, has been warning for some time that marketing and staffing policies pushed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) executives have changed the focus of VOA and other BBG broadcasters from serious, accurate and well balanced journalism to ratings-chasing entertainment and sloppy reporting produced by inexperienced, poorly paid, otherwise exploited, unsupervised and unedited contractors, many without any background in American life and media.

In his latest op-ed in The Washington Examiner, Lipien makes this point again. Anticipating the expected line of defense of BBG bureaucrats, who refuse to acknowledge the problem and dismiss a recent “fake” interview on the VOA Russian website and charges of “pro-Putin bias” as atypical, Lipien cites a study by a prominent independent Russian journalist and new media scholar Dr. Nikolay Rudenskiy who found not just one but many examples of the Voice of America Russian Service website giving prominence to pro-Putin and pro-Kremlin views and failing again and again to provide an American perspective on human rights and media freedom violations in Russia.

Lipien was also interviewed by NPR’s Michele Kelemen who reported that a recent webcast on the VOA Russian Service site included a long statement from a Putin supporter in Russia without an effective attempt to counter or balance his pro-Kremlin views.

U.S. taxpayers funding pro-Putin VOA programs – Ted Lipien – Washington Examiner

If American taxpayers had any idea what kind of messages Voice of America (VOA) is sending in their name and at their expense to Russia, they would be hopping mad.

Opposition leaders and independent journalists in Russia have warned that the VOA Russian website has a pro-Putin bias and downplays human rights reporting, but the latest scandal brings the harm to a new level. The VOA site posted a fake interview and embarrassed a leading Russian pro-democracy figure.

The VOA is funded by Americans to broadcast information programs to countries without free media. A leading Russian anti-corruption lawyer and Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, wrote a scathing Twitter comment accusing VOA of “going nuts.”

He dismissed the purported interview with him on the Russian website as “100 percent fake.” He further suggested that someone in Washington should start listening and “let all these guys go.”

Ted Lipien is a former VOA acting associate director and co-founder of the nongovernmental Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – www.CUSIB.org).

Link to the original article >> U.S. taxpayers funding pro-Putin VOA programs – Ted Lipien – Washington Examiner

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