Reaction to the Bush administration’s cockeyed attempt to emasculate the Voice of America through budget cuts is getting shocked attention not only among policy analysts at home but also from members of the VOA’s audience abroad. Here is part of a letter from a New Delhi man named Vijay Kranti to The Washington Times, a heavily conservative newspaper. Earlier, the Times‘s editorial page urged the White House to abandon its plan to cut English language news broadcasts by slashing VOA’s funding.
I wonder if the U.S. policy-makers ever knew that the total population of shortwave radio listeners in India alone is more than total number of U.S. voters on any given day. Unlike me, most of these listeners live in areas where they have just “zero” or not enough access to TV, FM or Internet. Shortwave radio has, for decades, been their main source of information. And it is going to stay with them till the day technology offers them a low-cost battery-operated direct to home TV.
It may be news to U.S. policy-makers that thanks to radio networks like VOA, millions of these listeners world over are better informed about America and the world situation as compared to an above-average American citizen.
To read the whole thing, go here and scroll down to the second letter. If you are concerned about the administration’s attempt to stifle a government agency that sends objective and balanced news and information to a world in which the United States needs understanding, tell your senators and representatives. Congress can stop this repressive campaign against open expresion.