Talk:Radio Free Asia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject United States / Government (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject U.S. Government (marked as Low-importance).

Initial comments[edit]

Should it really be categorized as "propaganda"? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:51, 18 November 2006.

I think so, just looking at its history and main listeners are all the socialist countries.--Ksyrie 02:48, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Of course it is. If the Chinese Government (or Russian Government) constantly broadcasted their condescending rants over to the American population ("communism rocks! democracy is flawed" etc.), or focused on Americans who were not happy with America (laws, freedom, conflict etc.) the US Government will shut the stations down immediately. As it is, the only thing foreign governments are producing are "Life in (whatever country)" and language and music shows. Maybe America should stick to the same? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:35, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposing new page[edit]

Without objection, I am going to create a separate entry for the current, modern, Radio Free Asia. This Radio Free Asia was created in the mid-90s originally as the Asia Pacific Network. It was renamed Radio Free Asia as part of the congressional approval and funding process and has no connection whatsoever with the CIA operation mentioned by a Wiki editor. The current RFA and the operation from the 50s share nothing but a name. Hartwh 19:28, 27 March 2007 (UTC)hartwh, March 27

I object. It is clearly in the tradition of the earlier RFA. Why else would they have continued to use the same name? —Babelfisch 07:43, 24 April 2007 (UTC)
I object to you, Babelfisch. I am related to one of the top administrators at RFA, I know the history pretty well. The station referenced in this article as the precursor to the modern RFA was known as Radio For Asia; funding was cut off and the project was scrapped before 1957. RFA's only mission is to broadcast democratic radio to oppressed countries, including Myanmar and China. The US government started up Radio Free Asia after Radio Free Europe (RFE) met with considerable success; administrators at RFE were thanked by the president after the Cold War ended for their contribution to ending communism in Russia. Please do not tarnish the reputation this outstanding broadcast station with incorrect, nonsensical and conspiracy theorist-like statements that lack a figment of credit. Many employees of RFA put themselves in danger travel to unstable parts of Asia in hopes of opening the minds of the oppressed. Some employees have suffered inhuman conditions while imprisonmed by intolerant anti-democratic governments RFA broadcasts to. RFA has also created hundreds of race- and class-blind jobs throughout Asia, offering competetive pay. The notion that RFA is affiliated with the CIA is beyond foolish. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:45, 29 April 2007 (UTC).

Babelfisch, a very small amount of research on this topic reveals that one of the very sources already referenced on this page disproves the alleged CIA link. A source linked in the references does, however, state that "editorials in major Chinese newspapers claiming that the CIA is behind the broadcast operation." These accusations sound familiar. Hartwh 13:58, 9 May 2007 (UTC)hartwh, May 9

Three sources are given for the paragraph in question and I have re-inserted it.
Anonymous "relations to top administrators" are not relevant sources.
What Susan B. Epstein wrote was commissioned by the US government, and she doesn't quote any sources. In another report, by the way, she writes that "Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) began broadcasting in 1950 under the clandestine auspices of the Central Intelligence Agency. [...] The purpose of BIB was to provide a firewall between the U.S. government (the CIA) and RFE/RL’s surrogate broadcasting to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The idea was that by keeping RFE/RL separate from the U.S. government, its credibility would be increased." That sounds familiar, too. —Babelfisch 08:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

More on difference[edit]

Additionally, one of the very sources cited (the 2nd footnote) in this article currently makes reference to startup funding:

"In 1994 legislation, Congress rebuffed moves to pull the plug on RFE/RL but resolved that it should look for private sources of funding. The law also provided start up funds for RFA. To coordinate operations and avoid overlap, all of the radios - including the VOA - were brought under the direction of the BBG, which at that point was to operate as a USIA sub-unit."

Hartwh 19:41, 27 March 2007 (UTC)hartwh March 27

"private, nonprofit corporation"[edit]

Just a collection of American citizens eager to share their gift of freedom with the world. Really. (talk) 18:16, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Can I take out the word "private" ? Doesn't it get the funding from the US government ? Money talks. JW19335762743 (talk) 03:22, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
The boss is the US Federal Government, when I deleted the word "private", an editor called Dodi8238 took out my modification and asked me for "reliable source". ... But actually RFA's web page does claim it to be "private, nonprofit corporation ". Oh well, so maybe I should not blame this Mr. Dodi8238. RFA got its funding from the US government, it is clearly stated on their web site, I just do not agree on the word "private". The exact words are "Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation that is funded by the U.S. Government through an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency charged with overseeing all U.S. civilian international broadcasting". English is not my first language so I will not waste my time arguing about the definition of "private corporation". I do think it's ridiculous to describe RFA as "private" JW19335762743 (talk) 09:03, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Being a private corporation and being publicly funded are clearly not mutually exclusive. Please provide a reliable source that describes the legal status of RFA as something other than a private corporation. Otherwise, you are just using this talk page as a forum for discussing the topic: Wikipedia talk pages are meant to be used for discussing how to improve articles, not for venting one's feelings about them. --Dodi 8238 (talk) 05:10, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
The following web site provides definitions of "public corporation" and "private corporation", RFA fits the definition of private corporation because its stock is not publicly traded, but it also fits the definition of public corporation because it essentially is government owned. I say just call it a non-profit corporation, take out the word "private" to improve this article JW19335762743 (talk) 06:40, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Firstly: Saying that RFA is government owned based solely on the fact that it receives public funding is not good enough, because we are building an encyclopedia and require reliable sources, not personal opinions. If you want this article to say that RFA is owned by the U.S. Government, you must be able to provide a reliable source that directly, and without need for analysis or interpretation, supports that claim. Secondly: It appears like you are trying to synthesize your opinions about the subject with other facts in order to reach or imply the conclusion that RFA is not a private corporation. It is against Wikipedia's policy on original research to combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. So far, you have not provided a single reliable source that directly contradicts the statement that Radio Free Asia is a private corporation. Until you do, I see no reason for this article to omit that information because it is directly supported by a reliable source.[1] If you want to discuss the reliability of that specific source for that particular statement, you are welcome to consult the reliable sources noticeboard. --Dodi 8238 (talk) 10:00, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Additional information, from the English Wikipedia article about United States Information Agency : "From the beginning, Dwight Eisenhower said, “audiences would be more receptive to the American message if they were kept from identifying it as propaganda. Avowedly propagandistic materials from the United States might convince few, but the same viewpoints presented by the seemingly independent voices would be more persuasive". The phrases "the same viewpoints" and "seemingly independent" are quite interesting. JW19335762743 (talk) 00:30, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

Factual accuracy[edit]

There seems to be some dispute on the accuracy of article content and whether subject was/is independent. Contributors such as Mark and jez have raised such concerns. There is also disagreement on foundation or CIA associations.

The organization appears to have been independently founded in the 1950s as an anti-communist outlet. However, hundreds of declassified CIA documents from 1950s indicate close connections between RFA, CIA, State Dept and so forth. There is a great wealth of information in these documents; which I have included on a scratchpad here: User:Dsprc/0. Quite a bit of history is completely absent; mayhaps review of these documents could provide a source for expansion and clarification. I have only conducted a cursory review of them, but this limited review turned up documents which challenge the notion RFA was founded by CIA (although no objection to claim of them driving content), and the date would appear to be 1951, not 1950.

I have not yet reviewed the previously included --and (oddly) subsequently removed-- references to Mr. Engelhardt's publication and the others listed in Further Reading. The now Further Reading section appears to have been previously used as a pseudo-reference section; as such I dug those older edits out and reintroduced the refs. These need to be mined by individuals with access to them for additional information (such as those with access provided by university or a well stocked public library or library network).

As for current independence, this is debatable. As the current organization is chartered by law to advance U.S. foreign policy interests, viewpoints and so on; RFA's continued operation depend upon it. This can hardly be viewed as independent... BBG is not an wholly "independent" agency, anymore than the CIA is "independent" (such official nomenclature is quite Orwellian in nature). RFA is managed and funded by the BBG; BBG is managed and funded by State; State is an agency of the Executive branch and overseen by the Congress -- former Sect. of State Hillary Clinton has testified before Congressional Committee on numerous occasions and spoke to their external propaganda initiatives, including those involving BBG, VOA, RFE/RL etc.

RFA would appear to be very close in nature to RFE/RL, in that they've present-day operations but deep connection to "Cold War" era propaganda. In any-event, the article is severely lacking of information and in need of expansion. Expansion could probably alleviate such dispute, as limited coverage would seem to be a source of contention.

P.S. Since Mark and jez has expressed interest in making sure subject is accurately portrayed, I would like to extend the offer to collaborate going through the documents to flush out the history of the pre-1994 RFA... assuming you can put that bias of yours aside, anyway. ;-) And let any other debates not interfere with that collaboration (agree to disagree sort of thing). -- dsprc [talk] 01:17, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

@Dsprc: Any analyses or interpretation of the declassified CIA documents should be left to reliable secondary sources, as required by Wikipedia's policies on original research: "Articles may make an analytic, evaluative, interpretive, or synthetic claim only if that has been published by a reliable secondary source." --Dodi 8238 (talk) 19:12, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Pong ball in flight.svg Dodi 8238: Indeed. A lead is helpful in finding other sources, however. Reviewing primary documents is sometimes a good place to start in locating secondary coverage. Need to be mindful of confirmation biases though, or parroting CIA talking points, and stuff like Operation Mockingbird. -- dsprc [talk] 00:34, 6 June 2016 (UTC)