USAGM Watch Commentary
Regardless of who wins the White House, Michael Pack, Trump-nominated and Senate-confirmed CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), has rehired three Voice of America (VOA) Chinese American refugee journalists who were fired by the former agency management over their dispute with former VOA director Amanda Bennett on the handling of the 2017 VOA Mandarin Service interview with Chinese whistleblower Guo Wengui.
One of the three fired VOA journalists told USAGM – BBG Watch that they have received today settlement proposals from USAGM, which they plan to sign after consulting with their attorneys. The journalist said that their priority will be to return to work as soon as possible and minimize any problems for Pack. One of the rehired journalists may have a different employment status and a different assignment than before the firing by the former management.
The three fired journalists were part of the “VOA Mandarin Five” group of Voice of America Chinese Branch broadcasters who objected to former VOA director Amanda Bennett’s decision to drastically shorten the live interview with the Chinese whistleblower who had promised to expose Chinese Communist Party corruption and influence buying in the United States. The live interview was shortened after Chinese communist officials threatened to retaliate against VOA if the interview were to be broadcast, but the final live interview was apparently not as short as Bennett wanted it to be. Bennett claimed that she was not acting under any pressure from China and only wanted to ensure that high journalistic standards were observed.
The former management, which fired the three journalists, accused them of insubordination, but Chinese American broadcasters–all of them U.S. citizens and highly experienced reporters–strongly denied that they were insubordinate. They blamed the incident on confusion and poor handling of the sensitive interview by senior managers and executives.
For more background information see our previous commentary: