Radio Marti:

Program Review Processes Need Strengthening

NSIAD-94-265: Published: Sep 23, 1994. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1994.

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Joseph E. Kelley
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) plan for enhancing the overall review process for Radio Marti.

GAO found that: (1) because of staffing problems, the Office of Program Review has only recently begun overseeing Radio Marti's programming; (2) the Office of Program Review has not yet initiated any study to determine whether Radio Marti is meeting Voice of America (VOA) broadcast standards; (3) according to officials from the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), the external review panel has provided useful comments and suggestions on Radio Marti's broadcasting practices; and (4) weaknesses in the procedures governing the development and use of the external panel's views have limited the panel's effectiveness and credibility as a review mechanism.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Bureau of Broadcasting has established formal procedures to ensure that the external review panel's recommendations are responded to in writing.

    Recommendation: Because of the controversial nature of Radio Marti, allegations of improper broadcasts, and concerns that broadcasts meet VOA standards, it is important that quality control procedures be effective and credible. Therefore, the Director, USIA, should require the Associate Director, Bureau of Broadcasting, to examine the external review panel's past comments and suggestions and determine whether OCB adequately considered them and took the appropriate actions.

    Agency Affected: United States Information Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The International Broadcasting Bureau plans to implement the procedures for the meetings of future panels and to review the comments of previous panels.

    Recommendation: The Associate Director, Bureau of Broadcasting, should ensure that OCB follows through with actions it agrees to take and that its reasons for not acting on suggestions are valid.

    Agency Affected: United States Information Agency: Bureau of Broadcasting

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Procedures established by OCB include informing the panel of the actions taken or planned, or reasons why no action is planned.

    Recommendation: OCB should routinely provide the panel with formal responses that summarize actions taken or planned or reasons why no action is planned.

    Agency Affected: Office of Cuba Broadcasting


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