This week, The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Information and Culture accused the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service news coverage of favoring Boko Haram terrorists. Boko Haram is a radical Islamic terrorist organization.
According to watchdog organization BBG Watch, one of the largest Nigerian newspapers, Daily Trust, published an open letter to President Obama this week which stated:
There is a dangerous trend going on at VOA Hausa, perhaps US’s strongest connection with Hausa-speaking Muslim communities in Africa and, as I mentioned earlier, this worrisome trend began with the rise of BH. To begin with, in the last three to four years, during the time when BH vehemence was at its highest and severest, VOA Hausa clearly appeared to celebrate the ‘exploits’ of the insurgents. In fact, its reporting of events seemed to exaggerate BH’s ‘successes’ and to downplay our military’s accomplishments. VOA Hausa would trumpet the group’s attacks, often inaccurately, and would usually amplify and repeat the group’s messages throughout the day. From the way things have unfolded in the last few years, the insurgent group may be said to have as ‘friends’ VOA Hausa, apparently basking in satisfaction on how well their ‘successes’ were being reported, nay celebrated, by the station.
The style of the coverage of the Chibok Girls kidnapping, for example, left a lot to be desired as VOA Hausa showed a lack of empathy and compassion. While we all know that that these poor girls are still missing, VOA Hausa’s monotonous coverage does not inform listeners on how the girls’ parents are coping, for example, or how the communities affected are resettling. One may have to tune in to other stations to learn that some of the girls who managed to escape that horrific nightmare are doing well at the American University in Nigeria, Yola, and in the US, so near you Mr. President. One would have thought VOA Hausa would celebrate US’s successful diplomacy in this matter, unless of course IT IS THE US ITSELF that dictates otherwise.
It then strikes me that perhaps VOA Hausa is out to undermine the very good work you are doing; or else why wouldn’t they highlight the good work the US and the whole world are doing in combatting terrorism? Why does VOA Hausa only concentrate on reporting the activities of this particular Nigerian insurgent group? Is there a hidden agenda? Is the US speaking from both sides of the mouth? Is it running with both the hound and the hare?
To us, VOA Hausa has become the perfect platform for BH to spread its message of terror. The station seems to be succeeding in giving BH some form of legitimacy, and appears to be an intimate friend of the insurgents - this much was admitted by a leading personality of the station who confidently stated that they are “a friend” to BH during a presentation on “Combating Boko Haram” at the American Foreign Service Association Conference Centre in Washington, DC, on 10th August, 2015. Mr. President, the US doesn’t have too many friends, and VOA Hausa seems to be subtracting the ones that you do have.
At the bimonthly public meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the acting chairman of the Board for that session, Michael Kempner, a major Obama & Hillary Clinton donor who owns MWW PR, said that America’s publicly-funded international broadcasting has seen “a whirlwind of positive change over the past six months.”
The Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service is a division of, and funded by, The Broadcasting Board of Governors, for which The Obama administration has requested $777.8 million for the BBG in the FY2017 federal budget. The BBG is regularly criticized as one of the least effective branches of government, and most wasteful.