Article: Who and what is Radio Free Asia?

In Articles, Miscellaneous by TechnoOwl

  • Founded by the CIA as an anti-Soviet Union propaganda tool source
  • Radio Free Asia is funded and operated by the US government with the task of “advancing the goals of U.S. foreign policy”.”In 1999, Catharin Dalpino of the Brookings Institution, who served in the Clinton State Department as a deputy assistant secretary deputy for human rights, called Radio Free Asia “a waste of money.” “Wherever we feel there is an ideological enemy, we’re going to have a Radio Free Something,” she says. Dalpino said she has reviewed scripts of Radio Free Asia’s broadcasts and views the station’s reporting as unbalanced. “They lean very heavily on reports by and about dissidents in exile. It doesn’t sound like reporting about what’s going on in a country. Often, it reads like a textbook on democracy, which is fine, but even to an American it’s rather propagandistic.” source
  • RFA publishes materials in nine languages into China online, by satellite and broadcasted through short-wave radio. Services specifically include Tibetan and Uyghur-language services source. Beijing has accused RFA of spreading anti-government propaganda and fomenting separatist activity in Xinjiang. (source) Remarkably, given China’s strenuous efforts to prevent the spread of news from this “enemy” service by means of jamming and internet censorship, at least some of Xinjiang’s 10m Uighurs still manage to receive it. In 2018 a survey by rfa of Uighurs who had recently moved to Turkey found about a fifth had been regular consumers of its news when they were living in Xinjiang. source
  • RFA’s parent organization is the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) (formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or BBG), an “independent agency of the United States government” which provides funding and oversight, among other things.
    • USAGM/BBG is directly funded by the U.S. Department of Defense throught the National Defense Authorization Act example
    • The USAGM/BBG is the U.S.’s broadcasting arm. In 2012, there was an outcry when the U.S. government tweaked the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from the U.S. government’s own misinformation campaigns source source 2“I just don’t want to see something this significant – whatever the pros and cons – go through without anyone noticing,” says one source on the Hill, who is disturbed by the law. According to this source, the law would allow “U.S. propaganda intended to influence foreign audiences to be used on the domestic population.” source
      • Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda
      • The Smith-Mundt Act is:”a long-standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 1970s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.“…Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn’t be funding propaganda for American audiencessource USAGM ensures that our networks’ program decisions reflect the U.S. national interest. Given funding constraints and changing foreign policy priorities, it is sometimes necessary to increase broadcasting to an area in crisis, while correspondingly reducing funding in other areas. Decisions to eliminate or reduce broadcast services are never easy….Funding decisions are based on a variety of factors including audience access to outlets of free and balanced news, the effectiveness of the current programming, and U.S. strategic interestssource The BBG is the propaganda arm of the United States… No official explanation has been given for Shell’s denial of entry into Russia, but his chairmanship of the BBG means that he’s responsible for overseeing propaganda broadcasts of news produced by the US government in foreign countries….The Broadcasting Board of Governors was established in the early 2000s after the first Cold War propaganda news outfit, the United States Information Agency (USIA), folded in 1999. Today, the BBG is responsible for distributing news and opinion programs funded by the US government to the rest of the world. Those news programs are explicitly forbidden from being broadcast inside the United States under laws that prohibit the government from releasing propaganda domesticallysource: Chair of US Propaganda Arm Booted From Russia
    • The law preventing domestic propaganda has since been repealed
  • Previous/current USAGM/BBG board members include high level U.S government officials such as:
    • Mike Pompeo, Current U.S Secretary of State and former U.S. CIA Director source
    • Rex Tillerson, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry – former U.S Secretaries of State
    • Matthew Armstrong, former executive director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy (ACPD) source
      • The ACPD has the stated mission of “appraising activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics and to increase the understanding of, and support for, these same activities” and furthermore, the ACPD “reports to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress. Currently, the office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs supports it”.Informing and building relationships with critical foreign audiences for U.S. foreign policy requires commitment and patience, and the strategic investment of limited resources (PD and international broadcasting activities make up 0.17 percent of the federal discretionary budget) to inform, engage and influence foreign publicssource
    • Jeffrey Shapiro, former Breitbart contributor and senior advisor to the BBG source
  • China’s point of view:

Newhouse professor uncovers state-sponsored Facebook ads that violated anti-propaganda laws