Washington, DC (STL.News) The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Acting CEO Kelu Chao to discuss the vital role that free and independent media play in the preservation and promotion of democratic principles worldwide. Secretary Blinken expressed his strong support for USAGM-affiliated networks around the world, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Voice of America (VOA), the Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN), and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). The editorially independent reporting of these networks is particularly important in countries with repressive media environments, including where independent journalism is censored or freedom of expression is restricted or punished. The Secretary and Acting CEO Chao shared their serious concerns that the Russian government continues to restrict media freedom. They noted that Moscow recently imposed invasive labeling requirements and fines — including potential criminal penalties on RFE/RL and VOA in Russia — to drive RFE/RL out of Russia and silence independent reporting.