The White House has announced that it will nominate Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former Voice of America (VOA) director Amanda Bennett to head the United States Global Information Agency (USAGM).
“I am honored to be nominated,” Bennett told VOA Friday night.
“If confirmed, I would be very proud to work with all the dedicated USAGM journalists who are doing critical and challenging work around the world to defend and prove the value of a free press,” she said.
USAGM Acting Executive Director Kilo Chow announced the nomination Friday afternoon in an email to all staff at the independent agency, which oversees journalists from five news networks: Voice of America, Radio Cuba Bureau, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and Middle East Broadcasting Networks, as well as the Open Technology Fund.
“We await your confirmation from Congress and your arrival!” Zhao said. President Joe Biden announced Zhao’s appointment as acting CEO on January 20, 2021.
The White House did not immediately respond when The Voice of America Request for comment.
Bennett, 69, served as director He flies From March 2016 to June 2020. He then resigned Michael Buck will be confirmed by the Senate, the last permanent CEO of USAGM, who oversees He flies He was chosen by President Donald Trump to head the agency.
In his resignation letter, Bennett expressed hope that Buck would honor his promise to respect the editorial independence of USAGM journalists enshrined in the 1994 United States International Broadcasting Act. The so-called firewall prohibits government officials from interfering with independence and objectivity. Reporting news, a cornerstone of the agency’s international work.
Michael Buck swore before Congress to honor and honor the firewall that ensures the independence of He flies, which in turn plays the biggest role in the incredible confidence our audience around the world has in us,” he wrote.
When he resigned, along with his deputy, Sandy Sugawara, he clarified that “since the Senate has confirmed the CEO, he is entitled to replace us with his own leadership from He flies“.
bustling The duration of the package is seven months Included accusations of whistleblower Serious mismanagement, a congressional subpoena and injunctions preventing him from interfering with the operations of the networks and recipients he oversaw. Since then, the GAO has recommended that Congress “consider removing the firewall in legislation and otherwise.”
If Congress confirms Bennett, he will inherit some of the Pack-era controversies at the agency, including an investigation by three independent experts reviewing several allegations made by employees against the agency’s previous administration.
On the staff farewell note after driving He flies For more than four years, Bennett has highlighted the agency’s progress in creating competitive digital news outlets in foreign markets and in combating disinformation. She highlighted the in-depth coverage of women and refugees’ stories, and a focus on press freedom around the world.
Bennett was honored “for her significant contribution to journalism” with the National Press Club’s 4th Place Award in 2019.
But she was also criticized for some decisions during her tenure as director of He flies, including interrupting a three-hour live interview with exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui in 2017. Bennett fired or sanctioned several Mandarin Service employees who participated in the interview, leading to legal challenges, which have since been resolved.
And in 2018, he fired 15 Hausa language service personnel after it was discovered that they had accepted money from a Nigerian politician.
Former President Trump also criticized Bennett for news coverage of China before He flies. In response, Bennett defended the agency and said that He flies “Strives to produce objective, fact-based reports that do not amplify anyone’s message.”
before reaching He flies, Bennett was in the management Bloomberg News, Philadelphia Inquirer, Lexington, Kentucky, Herald Leader and Oregonian, Portland. Prior to that, she was a reporter and writer for the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post..
Sharing the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for National Journalism with colleagues from magazine, For its coverage of the AIDS epidemic, which included the medical, social and commercial aspects of the disease.
In 2001, he led a team of Oregonian to the Public Service Pulitzer for “a consistent examination of systemic problems within the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, including harsh treatment of foreign nationals and other widespread abuses.”
“Pop culture advocate. Troublemaker. Friendly student. Proud problem solver.”