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The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 fundamentally restructures U.S. international “broadcasting” -   today multimedia content created by five separate networks and delivered by satellite and terrestrial television, radio, the internet, and social media to countries lacking free media.  The Act abolishes the Broadcasting Board of Governors and subordinates both the two federal and the three nongovernmental nonprofit networks to an Executive Branch senior official appointed by the President.  This paper reviews problematic provisions of the Act and offers three options for revision. 

A. Ross Johnson is a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution, adviser to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Archive Project at Hoover, and Cold War Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson  International Center for Scholars.

To read Optimizing Governance of US International Media in Historical and International Context, please click here.

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About the Author

A. Ross Johnson

A. Ross Johnson

History and Public Policy Program Fellow;
Senior Adviser, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; former Director, Radio Free Europe
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History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program uses history to improve understanding of important global dynamics, trends in international relations, and American foreign policy.  Read more

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more