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Officials suspended by VOA sue agency that runs the radio

Officials suspended by VOA sue agency that runs the radio

Washington: Five officials who were suspended by the agency that runs the Voice of America news outlet have filed suit against the suspension. The plaintiffs accuse its CEO and his top aides of trying to make it a medium to promote President Donald Trump's agenda.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday, blames the actions of U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) CEO Michael Pack and his senior advisers for violating the "statutory firewall" intended to protect VOA from political interference.

National Public Radio, which broke the lawsuit story, said the plaintiffs were all suspended by Pack and are seeking reinstatement.

Lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous Jr. told NPR, "The lawsuit we filed today seeks to vindicate core First Amendment principles that protect the independence and credibility of this country's publicly funded media organizations, like Voice of America, which are under siege by the current administration."

Pack, a conservative filmmaker, Trump ally and one-time associate of former Trump political adviser Steve Bannon, took the helm of USAGM in June and has made no secret of his intent to shake the agency up. But both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who control the agency's budget have criticised his moves.

Democrats in particular have expressed alarm about Pack's actions, which they fear are aimed at turning VOA and other U.S.-funded broadcasters like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Middle East Broadcasting Networks, and the Cuba-focused Radio/TV Marti into Trump propaganda outlets.

VOA was founded during World War II and its congressional charter requires it to present independent news and information to international audiences.

(Based on PTI feed)

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TAGS:VOAsuspended officialssue agencypro-Trump bias alleged
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