H.R. 4454 (106th): To authorize appropriations to expand and enhance United States international broadcasting operations around the world, specifically enhancing ...

...the depth and scope of programming thoughout the People’s Republic of China.

106th Congress, 1999–2000. Text as of May 15, 2000 (Introduced).

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HR 4454 IH

106th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4454

To authorize appropriations to expand and enhance United States international broadcasting operations around the world, specifically enhancing the depth and scope of programming throughout the People’s Republic of China.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 15, 2000

Mr. PORTER (for himself and Mr. BEREUTER) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


A BILL

To authorize appropriations to expand and enhance United States international broadcasting operations around the world, specifically enhancing the depth and scope of programming throughout the People’s Republic of China.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. FINDINGS.

    The Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) A fundamental prerequisite to political and economic freedom is an informed citizenry. In many countries around the world basic freedoms are denied, including access to information. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to help enhance the respect for human rights abroad is to disseminate reliable information that serves to foster the spirit of democracy in closed societies. By doing so, not only is the United States interest served by helping to spread democracy, but democratic activists are also empowered to challenge the status quo.

      (2) Currently, United States international broadcasting broadcasts in 61 languages around the world.

      (3) Research shows that for international broadcasting to reach the greatest number of people, enhanced marketing must take place. Marketing which will allow the potential audience to find the programming on the appropriate frequency, channel, or web site needs to be enhanced. Marketing efforts abroad for placement on local affiliate networks need to be developed. The base of international broadcasting audiences must continue to be broadened to recruit new listeners, and, particularly, to target the younger generation.

      (4) When crises arise around the world, such as the Kosova crisis in 1999, United States international broadcasting has no means to respond to such crises in a timely manner. Currently, budget resources are shifted internally, pulling resources away from others sources.

      (5) Both Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America, as a surrogate for a free press in the People’s Republic of China, provide an invaluable source of uncensored information to the Chinese people, including objective and authoritative news of in-country and regional events, as well as accurate news about the United States and its policies.

      (6) Radio Free Asia currently broadcasts 24-hours a day in China, with 12 hours in Mandarin, 8 hours in Tibetan, 3 hours in Cantonese and 1 hour in Uygur.

      (7) According to a 1990 census, 4.8 million Mongolians live in China, and there is no service in their native language available.

      (8) Radio Free Asia’s ‘call in listen’ programs reported an average of over 27,200 calls per month, for the months in the beginning of 2000. However, less than 2 percent of those callers were able to reach Radio Free Asia and voice their opinion.

      (9) Voice of America currently broadcasts 84 hours per week in Mandarin, 28 hours per week in Tibetan and 14 hours per week in Cantonese. Voice of America’s Mandarin TV service includes 1-hour programming, five days a week.

      (10) Currently neither RFA nor VOA have a news bureau in Taipei or Shanghai.

      (11) Signals of all United States international broadcasting programs often have difficulty being received due to widespread jamming practices of oppressive government regimes. If stronger frequencies are used or if the broadcastings can come from various angles, the reception will be increased in the targeted areas.

      (12) The Internet is the critical future of the development and exchange of ideas throughout the world. The same jamming problem exists for the web sites. Mirror sites must be set up to ensure that the Internet is accessible to as many people as possible.

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) BROADCASTING CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS- In addition to such sums as may otherwise be authorized to be appropriated, there are authorized to be appropriated for ‘Department of State and Related Agency, Related Agency, Broadcasting Board of Governors, Broadcasting Capitol Improvements’ $65,000,000 for the fiscal year 2001 which is authorized to remain available until expended.

    (b) INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING OPERATIONS-

      (1) In addition to such sums as are otherwise authorized to be appropriated, there are authorized to be appropriated $34,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2000 and 2001 for ‘Department of State and Related Agency, Related Agency, Broadcasting Board of Governors, International Broadcasting Operations’ for the purposes under paragraph (2).

      (2) In addition to other authorized purposes, funds appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be used for the following:

        (A) To increase personnel for the Program Development Office to enhance marketing programming.

        (B) To strengthen Radio Free Asia’s presence in Asia including expanding news research, production, expansion of call-in shows capability and website/Internet enhancement.

        (C) VOA enhancements, including the opening of four new news bureaus in Asia, enhancement of TV Mandarin, and an increase of stringer presence abroad.