Radio Free Asia
|Burmese, Cantonese, English, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Vietnamese|
|Owner||U.S. Agency for Global Media|
|U.S. Agency for Global Media|
|$39.5 million (2021)|
Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a United States government-funded private non-profit news service that broadcasts radio programs and publishes online news, information, and commentary for its audiences in Asia. The service, which provides editorially independent reporting, has the mission of providing accurate and uncensored reporting to countries in Asia that have poor media environments and limited protections for press freedom and freedom of speech.
Based on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, it was established by the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 with the stated aim of "promoting democratic values and human rights", and countering the narrative of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as providing media reports about North Korea. It is funded and supervised by the U.S. Agency for Global Media (formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors), an independent agency of the United States government.
RFA distributes content in ten Asian languages for audiences in China, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The Economist and The New York Times have praised RFA for reporting on the Chinese government's persecution of the Uyghurs.
With the passage of International Broadcasting Act in 1994, RFA was brought under auspices of the United States Information Agency where it remained until the agency's cessation of broadcasting duties and transitioned to U.S. Department of State operated Broadcasting Board of Governors in 1999. In May 1994, President Bill Clinton announced the continuation of Radio Free Asia after 2009 was dependent on its increased international broadcasting and ability to reach its audience. In September 2009, the 111th Congress amended the International Broadcasting Act to allow a one-year extension of the operation of Radio Free Asia.
The current Radio Free Asia is a US-funded organization, incorporated in March 1996, and began broadcasting in September 1996. Although senators debated a name change, Richard Richter, the then president of Radio Free Asia, was instructed to change the name back from Asia-Pacific Network to Radio Free Asia, as "we must have the courage to confront tyranny, and to do so under the banner of freedom." Radio Free Asia was forced to change in part due to financial pressures from the US government, for although they operate with an independent board, their money mostly comes from the Treasury.
RFA broadcasts in nine languages, via shortwave, satellite transmissions, medium-wave (AM and FM radio), and through the Internet. The first transmission was in Mandarin Chinese and it is RFA's most broadcast language at twelve hours per day. RFA also broadcasts in Cantonese, Tibetan (Kham, Amdo, and Uke dialects), Uyghur, Burmese, Vietnamese, Lao, Khmer (to Cambodia) and Korean (to North Korea). The Korean service launched in 1997 with Jaehoon Ahn as its founding director.
After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, American interest in starting a government broadcasting organization grew. The International Broadcasting Act was passed by the Congress of the United States in 1994. Radio Free Asia is formally a private, non-profit corporation. In 2017, RFA and other networks, such as Voice of America, were put under the then newly created U.S. Agency for Global Media that also sends representatives to its board of directors.
List of presidents
Radio jamming and Internet blocking
Since broadcasting began in 1996, Chinese authorities have consistently jammed RFA broadcasts.
Three RFA reporters were denied access to China to cover U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit in June 1998. The Chinese embassy in Washington had initially granted visas to the three but revoked them shortly before President Clinton left Washington en route to Beijing. The White House and United States Department of State filed complaints with Chinese authorities over the matter but the reporters ultimately did not make the trip.
The Vietnamese-language broadcast signal was also jammed by the Vietnamese government since the beginning. Human rights legislation has been proposed in Congress that would allocate money to counter the jamming. Research by the OpenNet Initiative, a project that monitors Internet filtering by governments worldwide, showed that the Vietnamese-language portion of the Radio Free Asia website was blocked by both of the tested ISPs in Vietnam, while the English-language portion was blocked by one of the two ISPs.
To address radio jamming and Internet blocking by the governments of the countries that it broadcasts to, the RFA website contains instruction on how to create anti-jamming antennas and information on web proxies.
On March 30, 2010, China's domestic internet censor, known as the Great Firewall, temporarily blocked all Google searches in China, due to an unintentional association with the long-censored term "rfa". According to Google, the letters, associated with Radio Free Asia, were appearing in the URLs of all Google searches, thereby triggering China's filter to block search results.
Arrests of Uyghur journalists' relatives
Radio Free Asia's 6 Uyghur journalists (2018)
In 2014–2015 China arrested three brothers of RFA Uyghur Service journalist Shohret Hoshur. Their jailing was widely described by Western publishers as Chinese authorities' efforts to target Hoshur for his reports on otherwise unreported violent events of the Xinjiang conflict. Much larger numbers of relatives of RFA's Uyghur-language staff have since been detained, including the family of Gulchehra Hoja.
RFA is the only station outside China that broadcasts in the Uyghur language. It has been recognized by journalists of The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Economist for playing a role in exposing Xinjiang internment camps. In particular, The New York Times regards RFA as one of the few reliable sources of information about Xinjiang.
In 2018, Chinese authorities forcibly disappeared two brothers and five cousins of a RFA journalist.
Radio Free Asia's functions, as listed in 22 U.S.C. § 6208, are:
- [to] provide accurate and timely information, news, and commentary about events in Asia and elsewhere; and
- [to] be a forum for a variety of opinions and voices from within Asian nations whose people do not fully enjoy freedom of expression.
Additionally, the International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (Title III of Pub.L. 103–236), which authorised the creation of the RFA, contains the following paragraph:
The continuation of existing U.S. international broadcasting, and the creation of a new broadcasting service to people of the People's Republic of China and other countries of Asia, which lack adequate sources of free information and ideas, would enhance the promotion of information and ideas, while advancing the goals of U.S. foreign policy.
The RFA's mission statement is outlined on its website as follows:
Radio Free Asia operates under a Congressional mandate to deliver uncensored, domestic news and information to China, Tibet, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, among other places in Asia with poor media environments and few, if any, free speech protections.
- Courage in Journalism Awasrd, 2020. International Women's Media Foundation.
- Edward R. Murrow National Award, 2019. Radio-Television News Directors Association.
- min magazine's "Best of the Web", 2017 for "Best Multimedia Feature".
- Sigma Delta Chi award, 2014. The Society of Professional Journalists.
- Annual Human Rights Press Award, 2012, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2000. Amnesty International, Hong Kong Journalists Association, Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong.
- International Activist Award, 2005, Gleitsman Foundation.
- Edward R. Murrow Regional Award, 2013, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001. Radio-Television News Directors Association.
- New York Festivals Radio Awards named Radio Free Asia "Broadcaster of the Year" in 2009. RFA won two medals in 2019, one in 2015; one in 2014; two in 2013; one in 2012; one in 2011; two in 2010; seven in 2009; two in 2008; one in 2007; one in 2004; and one in 2000. RFA also won medals at the New York Festivals TV and Film Awards in 2018 and 2019.
- Gracie Allen Award, 2013, 2010, and 2008. American Women in Radio and Television.
- Consumer Rights award, 2008. Hong Kong Consumer Council, Hong Kong Journalists Association.
- The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors' David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award, 2010.
- Society of Environmental Journalists's First Prize for Outstanding Online Reporting on the Environment for RFA's 2010 multimedia series "The Last Untamed River."
- The International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Award
|Broadcasting Information (Channels 1, 2, 3, 4)
||24 Hours, Daily
÷ over 3 channels
||Tibet Autonomous Region
||23 Hours, Daily, 1 ch
||8 Hours, Daily
÷ over 3 channels
||8 Hours, Daily
÷ over 2 channels
||9 Hours, Daily, 1 ch
||7 Hours, Daily
÷ over 2 channels
||5 Hours, Daily, 1 ch
||5 Hours, Daily, 1 ch
||6 Hours, Daily, 1 ch
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- ^ a b Denyer, Simon (February 28, 2018). "China detains relatives of U.S. reporters in apparent punishment for Xinjiang coverage". The Washington Post.
Their reporting for the U.S. government-funded news organization has offered one of the only independent sources of information about the crackdown in the province
- ^ a b Ball, Molly (December 16, 2017). "When the Presses Stop". The Atlantic.
- ^ a b Beitsch, Rebecca (April 6, 2021). "In departure from Trump, State affirms editorial freedom of Voice of America". The Hill.
USAGM, which runs Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and other networks, is funded by the government but operates under an editorial "firewall" designed to block any interference in its coverage.
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- ^ David Welch (November 27, 2013). Propaganda, Power and Persuasion: From World War I to Wikileaks. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-0-85773-737-3. Archived from the original on August 19, 2020. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
- ^ "About". Retrieved April 10, 2021.
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- ^ a b "Knowledge of China's gulag owes much to American-backed radio". The Economist. October 26, 2019. Archived from the original on October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
- ^ a b c Forsythe, Michael (July 31, 2015). "A Voice From China's Uighur Homeland, Reporting From the U.S." The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- ^ Executive Order 12, 850, 3 C.F.R. 606, 607 § 1(b).
- ^ Bill Text Versions for the 111th Congress, 2009–2010. The Library of Congress. Archived March 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
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- ^ Brown, Emma (June 10, 2011). "Jaehoon Ahn, reporter and Post researcher, dies". Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2011.
- ^ Susan B. Epstein: CRS Report for Congress Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (PDF)
- ^ "Governance and Corporate Leadership". Radio Free Asia. n.d. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
- ^ "US Launches New Mandarin Network as Washington and Beijing Battle for Global Influence". South China Morning Post. November 24, 2019. Archived from the original on November 24, 2019. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
- ^ "Radio Free Asia Founding President Retires". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ "Statement of RFA President on the Passing of Dick Richter, RFA's Founding President". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ "Libby Liu, President". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ a b "Bay Fang Named Radio Free Asia's New President". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ "New U.S. broadcasting chief fires agency heads". POLITICO. Associated Press. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ "Stephen Yates joins U.S. international broadcasting as President of RFA". USAGM. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
- ^ Folkenflik, David (January 22, 2021). "USAGM Chief Fires Trump Allies Over Radio Free Europe And Other Networks". npr. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
- ^ Fromer, Jacob (January 26, 2021). "A quick Biden fix: Trump appointees ousted from US broadcasting agency". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
- ^ a b Mann, "China Bars 3 Journalists From Clinton's Trip", The Los Angeles Times, June 23, 1998
- ^ Sieff/Scully "Radio Free Asia reporters stay home; Clinton kowtows to Beijing's ban, critics contend", The Washington Times, June 24, 1998
- ^ "Radio Free Asia says broadcasts to Vietnam are being jammed". CNN. February 7, 1997. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- ^ "H.R. 1587 Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2004". Congressional Budget Office. June 24, 2004. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- ^ "OpenNet Initiative: Vietnam". OpenNet Initiative. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- ^ "RFA: Anti-jamming antenna". Archived from the original on July 23, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
- ^ Censky, Annalyn (March 30, 2010). "Google blames China's 'great firewall' for outage". CNN. Archived from the original on April 3, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
- ^ Casey, Michael (July 9, 2015). "China's War Against One American Journalist". Slate. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- ^ Denyur, Simon (January 8, 2015). "China uses long-range intimidation of U.S. reporter to suppress Xinjiang coverage". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 22, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- ^ Editorial Board (June 9, 2015). "China exports repression beyond its borders". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 19, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- ^ a b "To suppress news of Xinjiang's gulag, China threatens Uighurs abroad". The Economist. October 23, 2019. Archived from the original on October 24, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- ^ Hiatt, Fred (November 3, 2019). "In China, every day is Kristallnacht". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
- ^ "What It's Like to Report on Rights Abuses Against Your Own Family". The Atlantic. March 1, 2019. Archived from the original on December 11, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- ^ McCormick, Andrew (March 1, 2019). "What It's Like to Report on Rights Abuses Against Your Own Family". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ Ramzy, Austin (March 1, 2018). "After U.S.-Based Reporters Exposed Abuses, China Seized Their Relatives". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ Lipes, Joshua; Hoshur, Shohret (March 3, 2021). "Brothers of RFA Journalist Confirmed Detained by Xinjiang Authorities". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
- ^ "Mission". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved March 30, 2021.
- ^ "Gulchehra Hoja". International Women's Media Foundation. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- ^ "2019 Edward R. Murrow Awards". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- ^ "2014 Sigma Delta Chi Award Honorees". Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved April 25, 2021.
- ^ "Burke Honors reporting in Korea and China". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ "RFA Wins Major Environmental Reporting Prize". Radio Free Asia. July 28, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ "Commentator Wins 'Courage in Journalism' Award". Radio Free Asia. May 13, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
- ^ Duggan, Paul; Clarence Williams (November 1, 2008). "Cover-Up Alleged in D.C. Killing Of Lawyer". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2008.