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New leaders named at U.S.-funded international broadcasters

The Voice of America building in Washington.
The Voice of America building in Washington is shown in June. Former President Trump’s hand-picked chief of U.S. international broadcasting has quit amid a burgeoning staff revolt and growing calls for his resignation. Michael Pack resigned as the chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media just minutes after President Biden was inaugurated. The agency runs the Voice of America and sister networks.
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

The Biden administration on Sunday installed new heads of three federally funded international broadcasters after abruptly firing President Trump appointees at the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

Kelu Chao, the acting chief executive of the agency, made the announcement after dismissing the previous directors of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks late Friday, just a month after they had been named to the posts.

Daisy Sindelar will be acting head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, replacing Ted Lipien until a permanent president is named. Bay Fang will return to her post as Radio Free Asia president, replacing Stephen Yates. Kelley Sullivan will become acting Middle East Broadcasting Networks president, replacing Victoria Coates.

“I have great faith in these leaders in ensuring the highest standards of independent, objective and professional journalism,” Chao said.

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The moves follow the forced resignation of Trump’s hand-picked agency head, Michael Pack, only two hours after Joe Biden took office as president on Wednesday. The director of the Voice of America and his deputy were soon removed and the chief of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting stepped down.

Pack had been accused by Democrats and others of trying to turn VOA and the other networks into pro-Trump propaganda machines.

Chao on Sunday also announced new corporate board directors for the three broadcasters, replacing the board directors named by Pack just days before his departure. The new directors are Karen Kornbluh, ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development under President Obama, who will serve as chair; Ryan Crocker, who was an ambassador to Iraq, Syria and other countries; and public relations executive Michael Kempner.

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“Now more than ever, U.S. international media must serve as an accurate, reliable source of news and information in places where illuminating truth is needed the most,” Kornbluh said.


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