Senators urge overhaul, or end, of U.S. broadcasts to Cuba

By Dean Graber

The U.S. government’s Radio and TV Martí broadcasts to Cuba reach fewer than 2 percent of people on the island, suffer from poor editorial standards, and have failed to make a meaningful influence on Cuban society, a U.S. Senate Committee reports (PDF) this week. See reports by AFP, the Miami HeraldWashington Post and Inter Press Service.

Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, said Washington’s continued funding of the broadcasts was a waste and that the government could save $300 million over 10 years by getting rid of it, Broadcasting & Cable says. The broadcasts were initiated in 1983 under the Reagan administration but have frequently been criticized as ineffective, B&C’s John Eggerton notes. (See previous posts on Radio and TV Martí.)

Senate Democrats recommend the stations be relocated from Miami to Washington and folded into the Voice of America, but Miami’s Republican leaders in Congress say the Democrats lack credibility on the issue, and that the news service should grow and be improved, the Herald’s Juan Tamayo says.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.