United Nations:

Content of and Charges for Radio Broadcasts Transmitted by the Voice of America

NSIAD-86-114BR: Published: Apr 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1986.

Additional Materials:


Nancy R. Kingsbury
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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the United Nations (UN) radio programs that Voice of America (VOA) transmits to: (1) assess instances of favorable and unfavorable treatment of the United States and U.S. policy interests in the programs; and (2) clarify the leasing arrangement between UN and VOA.

GAO found that: (1) the past method of computing charges for VOA broadcast services resulted in a U.S. subsidy of the broadcasts; (2) in March 1986, after VOA announced a rate increase to cover the full cost of the transmissions, UN suspended its broadcasts because of budgetary constraints; (3) because UN broadcasts are not monitored, U.S. officials do not know the extent to which these programs support or oppose U.S. policy interests; and (4) in the program tapes that it reviewed, there were instances of both favorable and unfavorable treatment of U.S. policy positions. GAO noted that UN will consider resuming the broadcasts in the fall when the General Assembly is in session.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: UN suspended its broadcasts over VOA in January 1986, and has no plans to resume them.

    Recommendation: If U.N. broadcasts from Voice of America facilities are resumed, the Department of State should include these programs in its review of U.N. public information materials.

    Agency Affected: Department of State


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