BBG Media Highlights - May 17, 2013
About Our Broadcasters
Azerbaijan - New legislative amendments further erode rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly - Reporters Without Borders, May 17, 2013
The legislative vice has been tightened at a time when journalists and bloggers are being constantly harassed. Yafez Akramoglu, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Azerbaijani-language service reported yesterday that he was threatened by a Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic security official five days ago while reporting on the Nakhchivan diaspora in Istanbul.

National VOA Museum board members visit Washington VOA - Southgate Amateur Radio News, May 17, 2013
Three VOA Museum board members visited the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. this week and learned more about VOA and its role worldwide today. [...] Snyder and Zemper also met with VOA director David Ensor and BBG public affairs director Letitia King to talk about VOA exhibit expansion at the museum. "We went to pick up a radio console that has historical significance and look at VOA photos," said Zemper, "We didn't expect the gracious, supportive reception VOA gave us. Everyone at VOA and BBG seems fueled by the importance of their mission. Despite some budget cuts over the past few years, their corporate culture seems very high. "We have a much clearer understanding now of how we can help promote VOA and how VOA can help us with ideas and support as we build out museum exhibits and programs. "

Today in Music History May 17 - The Province, May 16, 2013
In 1996, Willis Conover, whose Music U.S.A. program brought jazz to millions of listeners around the world, died in Alexandria, Va., of lung cancer. He was 75. Conover's show was carried by the Voice of America for more than 40 years.

US launches app to help people learn and teach English - FutureGov, May 17, 2013
The application, called 'American English', consolidates the Department's English learning content into one location, giving users access to e-books, audiobooks, quizzes, music, and games. The app also offers Wikipedia pages, Google Translate services, and an updated news feed from Voice of America, a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Government.

FishbowlDC Interview With Paul Brandus - Fishbowl DC, May 16, 2013
Have you ever had a near-death experience? Moscow, coup attempt against the Russian government. October 1993. Boris Yeltsin sent in tanks to blast the Russian Parliament Building (called the "White House"), where the plotters were holed up. There was a very scary battle at one point and I found myself lying flat on the ground maybe 400-500 yards away. That was the weekend I was also attacked by some Russian thugs who heard me giving a radio report for Voice of America. I had a radio-telephone device and there's a recording of me on the air saying "these guys are beating me, they're -" and the line goes dead. My glasses got crumpled. The Russian TV center was attacked - machine gun fire was sprayed into the crowd and six or seven journalists were killed. I had moved out of the area maybe a minute before. Something like 147 people were killed in that one memorable weekend. I earned my foreign correspondent achievement badge.

Top 40 Radio Pioneer Paul Drew Dies at 78 - Billboard, May 16, 2013
In 1984, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the first director of the USIA's Radio Marti Project. Drew also launched a series of seminars staged throughout the U.S. under the Professional Programming Management banner.
Citations of BBG Broadcasters
Chechen Refugee Questioned in F.B.I.'s Inquiry of Bombing - New York Times, May 16, 2013
Fatima Tlisova, a reporter for the Voice of America who grew up in the Caucasus and worked there for years as a journalist, said many Chechens in this country were worried. "They are scared that they could be framed by the Russian F.S.B.," she said, using the initials for Russia's Federal Security Service. "Even if they're completely innocent, they feel very, very vulnerable," said Ms. Tlisova, who wrote about Mr. Khadzhimuratov this week.
Also mentioned by Atlantic Wire

Boston Bombing: FBI Questions Former Chechen Rebel in US - ABC, May 16, 2013
The FBI has carried out a search warrant at the Manchester, New Hampshire home of a former Chechen militant who admits he met with dead bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev less than a month before the Boston Marathon bombing. Musa Khadjimuradov, 35, told Voice of America that agents took his computer hard drive, and samples of his DNA and fingerprints. Granted asylum to live in the United States in 2004, Khadjimuradov said the FBI said he was not a suspect in the case He has denied any involvement in the bombing but told VOA, "I believe that they thinking that he come here to New Hampshire and I try to help him or do something, like that." The FBI declined to comment on the search.
Also cited by The TelegraphAFPFOX, New Hampshire Union LeaderNECNWCVB

Chinese businesswoman sentenced to death for Ponzi scheme - Quartz, May 17, 2013
China has convicted 4,170 people on charges of "illegal fund-raising" since 2011, handing out 1,449 sentences ranging from five years in prison to death. But critics are doubtful that the biggest financial villains are being punished. "The proportion of corrupt officials and state-owned enterprise executives who get the death penalty is extremely low, while the rate among private entrepreneurs is extremely high," Shanghai-based lawyer Li Honghua told Radio Free Asia.

Tehran's Fearful Muslim Fundamentalists: Religious Persecution in Iran - Huffington Post, May 16, 2013
Although based on Shia Islam, Sufism, a more spiritual interpretation, has come under great pressure from the Shia Islamic government in Tehran. The Menatollahi Gonabadi Sufi order is believed to have more than two million members, and has been called a "danger" to Islam by the ruling faction. Reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Members of the Gonabadi order "have come under increasing state pressure over the past four years; three of their houses of worship have been demolished."

Campaigners in China challenge authorities over environmental impact of planned petrochemical plant - The Independent, May 16, 2013
Social activist, Hu Jia, said local governments are more willing to allow PX plants to be opened in their regions because they mean big revenues for local government coffers. "However, once the officials have made their money, they can leave their jobs, but people can't easily move elsewhere," Mr Hu told Voice of America.

Blue Dragon founder sees red over human trafficking - Gulf News, May 17, 2013
In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Camsa co-founder Nguyen Dinh Thang said most of the trafficked young women are forced into slave labour on the back of employment offers. 

North Korea Pushes Ahead on Agricultural Reforms - The Diplomat, May 17, 2013
Then, in April, Radio Free Asia, citing sources inside the country, reported that in parts of North Korea farmers were indeed being told they will be able to keep up to 30 percent of their harvests this year.

Protesting Tibetans beaten, held in disputed land deal - Tibetan Review, May 17, 2013
Chinese police used violence in Luchu (Chinese: Luqu) County of Gansu Province on May 12 to throw out or detain protesting Tibetans from a parcel of land they had bought, claiming the property belonged to the government and the transaction was illegal, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) May 15.
Of Interest
North Korea condemns media freedom but praises two U.S. reporters - Washington Post, May 17, 2013
How does North Korea celebrate World Press Freedom Day? First of all, two weeks late, on May 15 rather than May 3, presumably (and tellingly) because that's how long it took to get around to it. But get around to it North Korea did, with a special editorial in the state-run Rodong Sinmun, the country's preeminent newspaper. Entitled "Mockery of Press," it targets the U.S. media, arguing that they are too tightly restricted, thus belying U.S. calls for press freedom, and, simultaneously, that they are too free.

Google challenger in Vietnam redirecting queries - AP, May 16, 2013
A Russian-financed search engine seeking to challenge Google's dominance in Vietnam is redirecting queries for some politically sensitive terms to the American company's search engine, apparently as a way of avoiding government anger or legal liability for sending surfers to sites containing criticism of the ruling party.

Nigeria: Cell Phone Service Cut in Borno, Yobe - Daily Trust, May 17, 2013
Mobile phone service was turned off yesterday in Borno and Yobe, stifling social life and business activities in two of the three states affected by the proclamation of state of emergency on Tuesday. Daily Trust's correspondents reported that services of all the GSM networks-Airtel, MTN, Glo and Etisalat-were unavailable since early morning yesterday, obviously turned off as part of the military operation aimed at ridding the areas of insurgents. There was no official statement on why the cell phone services were turned off, but insurgents were believed to have used mobile phones to remotely detonate bombs in the past.
About Us
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 175 million in 100 countries. BBG broadcasting organizations include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).