TV Marti:

Costs and Compliance With Broadcast Standards and International Agreements

NSIAD-92-199: Published: May 6, 1992. Publicly Released: May 13, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined TV Marti's: (1) cost since inception, including the value of support services provided by other agencies; (2) compliance with Voice of America broadcast standards; and (3) compliance with international agreements.

GAO found that: (1) during fiscal years (FY) 1989 through 1992, TV Marti had $52.6 million available for operations; (2) of the $52.6 million, TV Marti obligated $35.7 million, including $7.8 million for services from other government agencies; (3) as of March 1992, TV Marti had expended $28.7 million of the obligated funds and had $16.7 million in unobligated funds remaining; (4) 3 of the 4 consultants employed to review TV Marti's compliance with broadcast standards believed that the broadcasts related to Cuba and the Cuban-American community lacked balance and did not meet established Voice of America standards, and the fourth consultant believed that the broadcasts generally met standards but that improvements were needed; (5) the State Department maintains that TV Marti's broadcasts do not violate the International Telecommunication Convention and its associated radio regulations as long as the broadcasts do not interfere with the Cuban station operating on the same channel; (6) the International Frequency Registration Board found that the broadcasts interfered with Cuban broadcasts and did not comply with a regulation requiring countries to broadcast only within their national boundaries; (7) it is not clear what TV Marti's ultimate impact on U.S. international commitments will be; and (8) in response to further Cuban complaints and counterbroadcasting into the United States as a result of TV Marti's recent extension of its daily broadcast, the United States filed several complaints with the Cuban government and the International Frequency Registration Board.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USIA has created an external program review committee of qualified independent critics who convene every 6 months to evaluate TV Marti news and programs against criteria established by VOA as described in the VOA Programming Handbook. The first external review panel met on December 11, 1992. A second external panel review of TV Marti newscasts has been scheduled for May/June 1993.

    Recommendation: The Director of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) should direct the Voice of America (VOA) to institute procedures to ensure that TV Marti's broadcasts meet established VOA standards.

    Agency Affected: United States Information Agency


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