The battle to keep Voice of America’s (VOA) Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts to China alive continued in the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday with a unanimous vote for a proposal that would secure money for the embattled China unit.
The authorization bill, sponsored by US Representative Dana Rohrabacher during a markup hearing, reserves US$13.76 million from the total budget for government-sponsored broadcasting next year to be strictly used for Mandarin and Cantonese radio and TV broadcasts.
That amount is equal to this year’s operational budget for VOA’s China unit.
“Of the funds to be appropriated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors [BBG], [US]$13.76 million is authorized to be appropriated only for Voice of America Mandarin and Cantonese-language radio and satellite television broadcasting,” it says. “Such funds may not be used for any other purpose.”
The BBG in February announced cost-cutting measures that would cancel VOA radio and TV broadcasts to China from October next year, while expanding other digital media efforts. That measure, which sparked accusations that US President Barack Obama’s administration was seeking to remove irritants to Beijing, is expected to cost about 40 jobs at the VOA China unit.
News of the cost-cutting measure came amid claims by officials in the Obama administration that new digital media, such as cellphones and the Internet, would be more effective platforms to reach Chinese.
The conclusion that traditional broadcasts in China were losing their effectiveness appears to have been reached after a series of surveys was conducted in China. Information obtained by the Taipei Times shows that as part of its International Audience Research Project, the BBG hired the services of New York-based InterMedia, a global communications and media research organization, which then relied on contractors in Beijing to conduct the survey.
Given the prospect of punishment facing anyone in China who admits to listening to VOA broadcasts, there are doubts as to whether the surveys can provide a true assessment of the broadcaster’s reach and effectiveness.
The authorization bill was included in the State Department Authorization Act for FY2012. It is now scheduled for a markup hearing at the Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Defense experts have warned that the ‘Shandong,’ China’s second largest aircraft carrier, poses a serious threat to eastern Taiwan’s defenses The drills conducted by the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong in the Western Pacific last week were more aimed at showcasing China’s military capabilities to the US rather than toward Taiwan, a Taiwanese defense expert said yesterday. Lin Yin-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies, said the drills which involved dozens of warplanes sought to test China’s anti-access and area denial capabilities should the US and its allies attempt to interfere in a cross-strait conflict. Lin said that the latest Chinese drills coincided with a joint maritime exercise conducted by the US, South Korea
Thousands of bottles of Sriracha have been returned or destroyed after the discovery of excessive sulfur dioxide, a bleaching agent, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Tuesday. About 12,600 bottles totaling 9,991.8kg of the hot sauce imported from the US by Emporium Corp (河洛企業) were flagged at the border for containing illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, the FDA said in its regular border inspection announcement. Inspectors discovered 0.5g per kilogram of the common bleaching agent and preservative, higher than the 0.03g permitted, it said. As it is the first time within six months the product has been flagged, Sriracha products from
Two people were killed and another nine injured yesterday after being stung by hornets while hiking in New Taipei City’s Rueifang District (瑞芳), with officials warning against wearing perfume or straying from trails during the autumn to avoid the potentially deadly creatures. Seven of the hikers only sustained minor injuries after being stung along the Bafenliao Hiking Trail (八分寮) and made their way down the mountain with a guide, the New Taipei City Fire Department said. Four of them — all male — sustained more serious injuries and were assisted when leaving the mountain, the department said. Two of them, a man surnamed
CHANGES: While NCCU opened the nation’s first co-ed dorm in Mucha, a recent survey showed that Taiwanese are in favor of abolishing gender segregation at high schools National Chengchi University (NCCU) has opened a co-ed dormitory, a first in Taiwan among state-funded Taiwan universities. The 22 duplexes are at the renovated “Huanan New Village,” in Taipei City’s Mucha (木柵) area, near the NCCU campus, a school official said yesterday. Twenty-two out of 37 group applications were selected in a lottery draw to select who would be chosen to live in the units, which can either be shared by up to eight students if the unit has four bedrooms, or up to 10 students if it is a five-bedroom unit, officials said. Completed in 1964 for campus staff housing,