International Broadcasting Act

Signed in law in 1994 by U.S. President Bill Clinton, this act was meant to streamline the U.S. international broadcasting and provide a cost-effective way to continue Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and Radio Marti.[1] It placed control of the international broadcasting under the United States Information Agency.[2]

International Broadcasting Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titles
  • Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995
  • Arms Control and Nonproliferation Act of 1994
  • Cambodian Genocide Justice Act
  • Middle East Peace Facilitation Act of 1994
  • Mike Mansfield Fellowship Act
  • Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act of 1994
  • Protection and Reduction of Government Secrecy Act
  • Spoils of War Act of 1994
Long titleAn Act to authorize appropriations for the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, and related agencies, to authorize appropriations for foreign assistance programs, and for other purposes.
NicknamesAnti-Economic Discrimination Act of 1994
Enacted bythe 103rd United States Congress
EffectiveApril 30, 1994
Public law103-236
Statutes at Large108 Stat. 382 aka 108 Stat. 432
Titles amended22 U.S.C.: Foreign Relations and Intercourse
U.S.C. sections created22 U.S.C. ch. 71 § 6201 et seq.
Legislative history


In 1958, President Eisenhower in an address to the United Nations proposed monitoring radio broadcasts:

I believe that this Assembly should ... consider means for monitoring the radio broadcasts directed across national frontiers in the troubled Near East area. It should then examine complaints from these nations which consider their national security jeopardized by external propaganda.[3]

In the 1960s, President Kennedy to build an international broadcasting arm of the United States to as a way to promote foreign policy and overthrow socialism.[4] In 1976, President Gerald Ford signed the Voice of America charter that established it as the leading branch of US international broadcasting.

In 1993, the Clinton Administration proposed cutting the budget for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in order to reduce budget expenditures.[1] However, after working with the Congress, the International Broadcasting Act was born.

Original lawEdit

This Act (Public Law 103-236) consolidated all non-military, U.S. Government international broadcast services under a Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and also created the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).[5] The BBG is an independent government agency created to replace the Board for International Broadcasting and consolidate Voice of America broadcasting.[6]

In this law, the President appoints one member of the board as the Chairman of the board. The Secretary of State also serves on the board.[7]

Besides combining current radio service, this Act also created the Radio Free Asia - a network aimed at Burma, China, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam.[8]

Congressional updatesEdit

In September 2009, the 111th Congress amended the International Broadcasting Act to allow a one year extension of the operation of Radio Free Asia.[9]

In 2002, the Act was amended to include the Radio Free Afghanistan.[7]

In May 1994, the President announce the continuation of Radio Free Asia after 2009 was dependent on its increased international broadcasting and ability to reach its audience.[10]


  1. ^ a b Raghavan, Sudarsan V., Stephen S. Johnson, Kristi K. Bahrenburg. Sending cross-border static: on the fate of Radio Free Europe and the influence of international broadcasting. Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 47, 1993.
  2. ^ United States International Broadcasting Act, Pub. L. No. 103-236, title. III.
  3. ^ Dept of State Bulletin 337-342 at 339. 1958 Statement to the UN, August 1958.
  4. ^ Jon T. Powell, "Towards a Negotiable Definition of Propaganda for International Agreements Related to Direct Broadcast Satellites," Law & Contemporary Problems 45 (1982): 3, 25-26.
  5. ^ IBB Fact Sheet. University of Illinois Chicago. Web
  6. ^ Broadcasting Board of Governors FAQ
  7. ^ a b "U.S. Code. House of Representatives". Archived from the original on 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  8. ^ Price, Monroe. The Transformation of international broadcasting. Global Media and National Controls: Rethinking the Role of the State, MIT Press, 2002.
  9. ^ Bill Text Versions for the 111th Congress, 2009 - 2010. The Library of Congress.[1]
  10. ^ Executive Order 12, 850, 3 C.F.R. 606, 607 § 1(b).