Washington D.C., April 10, 2020—The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it is appalled by an official White House statement yesterday accusing Voice of America (VOA), the U.S. Congress-funded international broadcaster, of “speak[ing] for America’s adversaries” and promoting Chinese propaganda on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is outrageous that the White House is attacking Voice of America, which has a tradition of reporting stories that challenge the narratives of authoritarian regimes around the world,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon in New York. “At this moment, citizens in some highly censored countries are depending for their health and safety on VOA news of the coronavirus, and President Trump should absolutely not undermine the news outlet’s efforts to do its job.”
CPJ’s research shows that journalists for Voice of America often put themselves at risk by reporting in highly censored or dangerous countries. For example, they have been harassed and detained in China, charged with treason in Ethiopia, imprisoned in Eritrea and Vietnam, and killed on assignment in Somalia.
VOA Director Amanda Bennett is a member of CPJ’s board of directors.