The Mission of International Broadcasting

In the Opinion page article "A Plan for Improving US Broadcast Efforts," April 28, the author's plan would preserve a most unsatisfactory status quo. The theory of United States international broadcasting is that one station, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, presents news about the listeners' own countries, while another voice, Voice of America, presents US and world news and US government viewpoints. People listen to international radio to get news that is more comprehensive, timely, and reliable than t he news they get from their own media. This programming must be clearly audible and conveniently scheduled.

Britain spends half as much as the United States on international broadcasting, but the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service has more listeners than all the US radios combined. US international broadcasting falls short but costs more because its human and technical resources, scarce no matter how much tax money is poured in, are divided among competing bureaucracies.

The US government must quickly deal with the difficult business of international broadcasting in an increasingly competitive global media environment. Bickering bureaucracies must give way to a single new global broadcasting corporation able to adjust programming and media mix to suit any audience at any time. And because the audience has defined the mission of international broadcasting as that of providing credible news and information, this corporation should enjoy the autonomy it needs to do the job. Kim Andrew Elliott, Arlington, Va.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please fax letters to (617) 450-2317 or address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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