Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Should Radio, TV Marti be scrapped?

At a Congressional hearing yesterday several lawmakers argued that U.S. radio and TV broadcasts to Cuba ought to be cut or removed altogether.

"Radio and TV Marti have failed to make any discernable inroads into Cuban society or to influence the Cuban Government," according to a report by the Democratic majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. John Kerry wrote in the report that the broadcasts have “noble objectives” but that Radio and TV Marti be moved from Miami and folded into the Washington-based Voice of America network. The report added that the move would not only cut costs but also encourage higher “journalistic standards” and cut into alleged malfeasance at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

The report was assailed by supporters of the Marti broadcasts and has emboldened one of its strongest detractors:
"(…) Kerry and his staff are out to kill the OCB," charged Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-born Florida Republican, in an interview with the Miami Herald. "They have always tried to kill it and they continue to try to kill it," he added. 

But, citing the report's finding's, Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Committee, called on President Barack Obama to eliminate all funding for both operations. 

"This programming is a relic of the Cold War, falls short of journalistic standards and is a prime example of wasteful government spending at a time when we should be reducing the deficit," he said in a letter to Obama.
According to a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report only 2% of Cubans have tuned in to either TV or Radio Marti. Part of the reason for such a small audience is because the Cuban government regularly jams signal from the U.S., said the GAO study.

Image- (2007 image of Radio Marti newscasters)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, Washington Post, Broadcasting & Cable, IPS

1 comment:

Tambopaxi said...

Radio Marti should have been shut down years ago. It was a political payoff to the CANF and just as obvious, it was a bust from the start. The report you cite is just the latest in a series, over the of years of similar reports, with similar conclusions. Since it's a still anoooother election year, which automatically excuses any action (or inaction, in this case), nothing will be done with the report and Radio Marti will continue. Id' be pleasantly surprised if I was wrong, but I probably won't be....