BBG Creates Office of Internet Freedom

WASHINGTON, D.C. – John Lansing, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), said this morning that BBG has created an Office of Internet Freedom to promote free and open access to online information.

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BBG CEO John Lansing is at the podium; to his left: Commission Vice Chair Sim Farar, Commission Chair William Hybl, and Commission Executive Director Katherine Brown

The new office will have an initial budget of $14 million, according to Lansing, and will have “more going forward.”

He discussed the new Internet freedom office at the quarterly public meeting this morning of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

Lansing said a director of the new office has not yet been chosen, adding that he “will present a framework and governance” of the new office at the BBG December board meeting.

In response to questions from the audience, Lansing cited progress of the new coordination he has introduced among the five BBG networks which now meet twice a month to coordinate coverage.  He said this is invaluable in coverage of breaking news, such as VOA’s Paris correspondent reporting on all of the BBG networks.

“We were able to light up all five networks with live coverage from Paris,” he said.

Lansing’s comments were an indirect criticism of a bill now under consideration in Congress, which would divide U.S. international broadcasting into two separate entities supervised by two separate boards.

Lansing was one of three senior officials BBG who opposed the plan in testimony last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.