Sunday, April 17, 2005

Voice of America Outsources News to Hong Kong

"Voice of America, the international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government, is shutting down the overnight shift of its central news division in Washington and replacing it with a new workforce in Hong Kong, which will be comprised partly of contractors.

"VOA employees are reacting 'with anger,' said one news division staffer, who asked not to be identified. Of the 10 employees who will now have to adjust to lower pay and different hours, the staffer said, 'They feel like their world has been turned upside down.'"

3 Comments:

Blogger Johnathan said...

Isn't it really unethical, immoral, and possibly treasonous to have a "workforce in Hong Kong" producing "news" for the "Voice of America"?
Especially since Hong Kong is part of China, a communist country that regularly censors journalists and has a poor human rights record.
I guess it's now the "Voice of America" 16 hours per day, and the "Voice of possibly censored Contract Workers from the Hong Kong province of China" 8 hours per day.

Interesting.

2:21 am  
Anonymous Tom - Daai Tou Laam said...

Wow! Ignorance is abundant with johnathan.

I'm utterly disgraced as an American to see such an utter display of ignorance about the rest of the world, especially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.

Just the words of American citizen living, working and loving in the city with more newspapers and a more diverse range of opinions and a higher readership than any other place in the world, including New York City.

2:59 am  
Blogger Johnathan said...

I don't mean to denigrate Hong Kong's value as a city in the world. I apologize if I did. I was upset about the issue, and perhaps went a little further than I needed to.

But I just don't think it's honest to have news produced in any other country besides the US labeled as the "Voice of America". That doesn't honor the VOA Charter, which states in part that "VOA will represent America..."

I think it would be just as bad if, for example, the BBC demoted employees at their UK headquarters in favor of hiring some contract workers in a different country. It would no longer really be the "British" Broadcasting Corporation in that case.
I think that a radio service that purports to express a national identity ought to be staffed within its home country. I don't have a problem with having correspondents & reporters in other areas; obviously news is global. But I get the impression that the VOA is making a bigger structural shift here, that could affect the quality and direction of their overall content for (at least) one third of the day.

I listen to international broadcasters regularly, and what I like about them is that they are informing me of each country's unique point of view. When I listen to CBS - Radio Taiwan International, I can hear about the unique culture of Taiwan, and I know that the programs are actually produced in Taiwan. When I listen to Deutsche Welle's "Update Europe", I know that it's produced in Germany. It wouldn't be quite the same if CBS/RTI was produced in Japan, and DW was broadcast from French studios.

8:34 am  

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