US Senator: Pull plug on Radio/TV Martí -
January 28th, 2010 - 11:51 UTC
by Andy Sennitt.
The United States should pull the plug on funding for radio and television broadcasts into Cuba, Democratic US Senator Russell Feingold urged President Barack Obama in a letter released yesterday. “We remain committed to helping the people of Cuba strive for freedom of press, speech, and other basic human rights” said Feingold, but “cannot afford” to pursue programs that are “wasteful and potentially counterproductive.”
Mr Feingold pointed to a January 2009 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the non-partisan investigative arm of the US Congress, that found Radio and TV Martí reach just a tiny audience in Cuba. “Specifically, less than two percent of respondents to telephone surveys since 2003 reported tuning in to Radio or TV Martí during the past week,” said the GAO, which underlined that audience data are imperfect.
The GAO also said it was “unclear” whether ambitious US efforts to overcome or skirt the communist Cuban government’s jamming of the outlets’ signals were succeeding. Mr eingold said the United States could save nearly 300 million dollars over the next ten years by scrapping the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which manages Radio and TV Martí.