Pompeo defends shake-up in Voice of America

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday defended a controversial shake-up in Voice of America and other US-funded broadcasters praising a new CEO who has been accused by judges and of tampering with journalist freedom It has been alleged by lawmen.

In a live speech on the network to VOA staff members, Pompeo said the broadcaster had lost touch with its original mission to tell America’s story to a foreign audience and instead discredited the US

Pompeo said without offering an example, “It is often spoken of as telling the truth about America and demolishing America.”

“America’s voice has lost its voice, but it’s back on the road,” he said.

Michael Pack, named last year by CEO Donald Trump to run VOA’s parent agency, the US agency for global media, has received fierce criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisles for his widespread moves, with press freedom groups warning. Has suffered, which he warned. Was jeopardizing the editorial independence of broadcasters.

But Pompeo expressed gratitude for Paik, a conservative filmmaker who once collaborated with former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon.

“Michael, thank you for your leadership of these incredibly important institutions,” Pompeo said.

In VOA and the US and other funded broadcasters from Congress and current and former staff members, including Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, the pack has launched an investigation into journalists and turned outlets into promotional vehicles for Trump Has demanded to do.

A federal judge ruled in November against the pack, effectively banning him from making personnel decisions or interfering with editorial actions. A Superior Court judge in Washington, DC, ruled in October that the pack did not have the authority to exclude the management of the US-funded nonprofit, Open Technology Fund, used by civil society groups and journalists Develops anti-censorship software and apps. In oppressive countries.

Ever since he took office in June, the pack fired all heads of four news outlets under his agency, as well as members of bipartisan circles who controlled him. Pack replaced the board with mostly political appointments and named himself chairman. He convinced an editor for standards at VOA and fired Radio Free Asia’s executive editor.

Pompeo’s speech, his latest defense of Trump’s term, portrayed the US agency’s overhaul for the global media as long overdue.

While other cabinet members and senior officials have clashed with Trump over the past four years and in recent times an array of top figures have gone down and accused him of instigating followers for the storm in the Capitol last week, Pompeo has been loyal.

Pompeo said, “The Trump administration is not trying to politicize these institutions. We are trying to exclude politics.” “For anyone who wants to write it, this is a very good feature story.”

Calling VOA the “tip of the spear of freedom”, Pompeo said it should focus on America’s shortcomings but not eliminate them.

Pompeo said, “It is not a fake news for you to broadcast that this is the largest nation in the world so far.” “I am not ignoring my faults. Accept them. But this is not the chancellor of America, focusing on whatever is wrong with our country.”

He said: “Your mission is to promote democracy, freedom and American values ​​in the world.”

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A group of employees recently filed a formal complaint, stating that live broadcasting amounted to a promotional exercise and that it affected the health of employees attending and working in the program in a closed auditorium during the coronovirus epidemic. Is put in danger Outside media was not given access, as officials cited public health concerns on Kovid-19.

“You cannot use the public health risks of the COVID-19 epidemic to external journalists and invite your staff to exclude them,” the complaint said in the complaint.

The letter was sent to the pack, the lawmakers in the Foreign Relations Committees of the House and Senate, the Office of the Inspector General of the State Department and the Office of Special Counsel, as a federal sentinel.

“The topics they are widely covered in are the use of VOA to spread political propaganda during the political days of the Trump administration,” the letter said.

Pompeo dismissed the criticism, saying it represented an attempt to censor speech and went counter to the broadcaster’s mission.

Pompeo said, “They did not want the voice of American diplomacy to be broadcast on the voice of America.”

Pompeo, a former House member of Kansas, complained of recent action by social media and tech companies to ban Trump following the violent storm of the Capitol last week. Companies said Trump’s posts could provoke more violence right now.

Pompeo portrayed the moves as part of a leftist “wake” politics that he suggested was an attempt to silence critics.

“It’s not what we’re American for. It’s not what the Voice of America should be. It’s time to put woke-ism to sleep,” he said.

Abigail williams has contributed.

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