WASHINGTON – A federal judge has ruled against the head of an agency that runs The Voice of America and other US-funded news outlets, trying to turn it into a propaganda vehicle to promote President Donald Trump’s agenda. Was accused of doing.
The ruling effectively stops the US agency for Global Media CEO Michael Pack from interfering with the decision making and editorial operations.
Paik, a conservative filmmaker, Trump’s aide and lifelong aide to former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, made no secret of his intention to shake up the agency after he took office in June.
He worked to advance leadership in Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Network and the Open Technology Fund, which serves to provide secure Internet to people around the world. VOA director and deputy director resigned just days before Ferring. The pack also rejected their governing boards.
His move was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who control the agency’s budget.
A lawsuit was filed in US District Court last month against five district officials who were fired or suspended. He accused the pack and their senior advisers of violating “statutory firewalls” aimed at protecting news organizations from political interference.
After the lawsuit was filed, Pack announced that it had rescinded the “firewall rules” issued by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In a statement posted on his agency’s website, he said the rule made it difficult for him to restrict direct broadcasting operations and “to manage.”
On late Friday evening, Judge Beryl Howell enacted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Pak from making personnel decisions about agency-appointed journalists, communicating directly with them and conducting any investigations into editorial material or individual journalists Does.
In July, Paik ordered an investigation into the posting of a video package featuring now-President-elect Joe Biden on a VOA website. He called the section “pro-biden” and said that his staff was taking disciplinary action against those responsible.
Fourteen senior VOA journalists sent a letter to management in August opposing the pack’s actions, including the dismissal of foreign journalists and their comments defaming VOA employees, which they said would give credibility to their colleagues and international broadcasters Were risking
“The court affirmed that First Amendment prevented Mr. Pack and his team from attempting to control these journalistic outlets, from investigating their journalists for alleged ‘bias’ and for influencing or controlling their reporting material Is, ”Lee Karen, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, said in a statement.
The global media agency did not immediately respond to a written request for comment on the ruling.
The VOA was established during World War II and its Congressional Charter is required to present independent news and information to international audiences.