AFSA Statement on the Politicization of the U.S. Agency for Global Media

For Immediate Release
October 27, 2020
Contact: Executive Director Ásgeir Sigfússon,

Washington, D.C. – The American Foreign Service Association, the professional association and labor union of the women and men of the U.S. Foreign Service in six Federal agencies, stands in solidarity with our members in the U.S. Agency for Global Media in response to the October 26 action by agency management to eliminate the journalistic "firewall" and to politicize news coverage by USAGM media organizations.

This action runs counter to the tradition of independence and non-partisanship of U.S. public broadcasting, going back to the days of Edward R. Murrow's leadership of the Voice of America, and tarnishes America's tradition of a free press that goes back to the Founders. Government propaganda has no place in official U.S. news reporting. Truth is the best antidote to foreign disinformation.

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

-Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787.

AFSA, the voice of the Foreign Service, is the professional association and labor union of the U.S. Foreign Service. Founded in 1924, AFSA represents 31,000 active and retired Foreign Service employees at the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.