BBG oversight of U.S. international broadcasting would end under new legislation

Wednesday, November 30th 2016

BBG Chairman Jeff Shell at today's meeting

Jeff Shell, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, announced at today’s open board meeting that this could be the last meeting of the BBG board.

Under legislation introduced that was to be considered this afternoon, the BBG board members would only serve until the end of their terms – and all board members’ terms have already expired. That means there would be no board, effective immediately.

“It is possible, even likely, for the legislation to pass in the next week,” Shell said. The legislation would then go to reconciliation and then take effect after being signed by President Obama.  The White House has already indicated its support of the measure.

That would leave CEO John Lansing, who himself would become subject to political approval, as the remaining firewall between politics and independent journalism at U.S. international broadcasting.

 “It will be up to the CEO to keep the organization independent and separate,” Shell said.

Video of today’s meeting will be posted later today at

Republicans in the House have long favored replacing the current board with a new organization that could include two new boards.

The text of the legislation is Section 1288 of


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Adam Clayton Powell III

Board member

Adam Clayton Powell III is Director, Washington Programs for the University of Southern California's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy and directs the Center's Internet of Things (IoT) Emergency Response Initiative. He is also University Fellow at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy authors name for more info

Author: Adam Powell

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International Broadcasting

With the demise of the self-important and ineffective Broadcasting Board of Governors, perhaps the pretentious title of Chief Executive Officer might also be revisited. Government Agencies are generally headed by 'Directors.' If the Director of the CIA, the Director of the FBI, and the Director of the Smithsonian Institution titles convey sufficient prestige, it ought to be good enough for international broadcasting. In government, the chief executive is the President.

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