27 August 2005

voice of america

Did you know that there's a radio broadcaster in the United States, funded by the U.S. government, that is forbidden from broadcasting to locations within the country? Meet Voice of America. In 2005, they received $158 million in funding from United States taxpayers. As a bonus, they are exempt from releasing transcripts of their broadcasts in response to Freedom of Information Act inquiries. This unique set of circumstances is due to 1948's Smith-Mundt Act.

The idea is that the United States government should not have direct media access to its own citizens. I think this makes sense when considering that it could be a propaganda tool, but this content can't be reviewed before being used as propaganda for the rest of the world. Right?

Anyway, sometimes I am able to tune into VOA's English to Africa broadcasts on 9575 khz. This suggests that the broadcast originates at their Delano, CA transmitter. I wonder in which direction the broadcast is beamed. The broadcasts I have heard were relatively boring, although they contained interesting news headlines and tidbits relevant to African nations.

I hope to pick up these broadcasts again as I am curious how my government is representing my country to the world population. What is the message they are broadcasting on topics like the Iraq war, Cindy Sheehan, Pat Robertson, and John Bolton? Or are they ignoring these stories?

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