US House Passes Bill to Overhaul International Broadcasting
The U.S. House of Representatives has approved legislation that would overhaul the government's international broadcasting efforts.
The bipartisan measure passed by a simple voice vote Monday. It would replace the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors with a new International Communications Agency that would employ a fulltime CEO who would run the Voice of America.
It also would consolidate Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network into a non-federal agency called the Freedom News Network.
Under the legislation, VOA’s mission is defined as supporting U.S. public diplomacy efforts. Opponents of the bill, including many current and former VOA journalists, contend it would greatly reduce VOA's worldwide credibility.
But co-sponsor Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says the United States needs to fight back more effectively in the war of information against countries like Russia and China.
In order to become law, the measure would have to be passed by the U.S. Senate and then be signed by President Barack Obama.
US: Russia Violated Nuclear Treaty
The United States has accused Russia of violating a historic nuclear test ban treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile.
U.S officials say President Barack Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter Monday of the U.S.' determination that Russia broke the 1987 treaty. The move was first reported Monday evening by The New York Times.
The U.S. says Russia tested a new ground-launched cruise missile, breaking the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that President Ronald Reagan signed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was designed to eliminate ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
U.S. officials said the Obama administration is willing to hold high-level discussions on the issue and wants assurances that Russia will comply with the treaty requirements going forward.
There was no immediate response from Moscow.