An ally of president Donald Trump has completely revamped the direction of the media with the u.s. government, such as Voice of America or Radio Free Europe, raising fears of a politicization of the information broadcast on these radio and television channels were created to promote the ideals of freedom and democracy in the world.
The leaders of the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Al Hurra or Radio Marti, have all resigned or been fired in recent days by Michael Pack, the new director of the agency that oversees them (USAGM), according to the elected officials of Congress.
The director of VOA Amanda Bennett and her assistant Sandy Sugawara, two experienced journalists, have announced on Monday their resignation, while Mr Pack, a close relative of the ex-director of president’s campaign, Steve Bannon, is preparing to take up its duties.
On Wednesday, Mr. Pack has returned to the leaders of the other media and dissolved the oversight committees of these organizations.
Agency supposed to be independent, funded by federal funds, but structured to provide information, “objective and accurate” to the countries without an independent press, the USAGM has not responded to questions from AFP.
But many elected democrats are fearful of this realignment, fearing that such control of the media by Donald Trump, who regularly condemns the american press.
“Michael Pack has confirmed that it has the political mission to destroy the independence of the USAGM and weaken its historic role “, said democratic senator Bob Menendez.
For Janet Steele, a specialist in public diplomacy at the George Washington University, these dismissals ” confirm the worst fears of those who thought that the appointment of Michael Pack was part of the efforts to make the USAGM a tool of international propaganda for the administration to Trump “.
In April, the White House had accused VOA of spreading “propaganda” in chinese on the pandemic of sars coronavirus and prohibited the advisers of the executive in matters of health to grant interviews to its reporters.
“This kind of political interference, blatant has always been the norm in developing countries,” said Ms. Steele. “But not in the United States “.