Rep. Rohrabacher letter could set off a border dispute between RFE/RL and Radio Free Asia.

Posted: 22 Mar 2012   Print   Send a link
Pakwatan.com, 22 Mar 2012: "Dana Rohrabacher sent a letter to the President of Radio Free Asia (RFA) requesting they begin 'reporting on, and broadcasting to, the Baluchi population in the Baluchi language, especially those who live in Pakistan and Iran.' He alleged the government of Pakistan has brutally repressed Baluchi nationalism and denied the Baluchi people their right to self-determination. ... 'While the government and intelligence services in Pakistan act against the interests of the United States, I believe America can find common ground with the people of South Asia. The Baluchi people would be very receptive to RFA broadcasts in their own language and the increased exposure to accurate and objective news would no doubt be to our and their great benefit.'"

Examiner.com, 21 Mar 2012, Ahmar Mustikhan: "A U.S. congressman who has been named as "Hero of Balochistan" Wednesday called for Radio Free Asia to start broadcasts in Baluchi language. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to the President of Radio Free Asia (RFA) requesting they begin 'reporting on, and broadcasting to, the Baluchi population in the Baluchi language, especially those who live in Pakistan and Iran.'" See also Rep. Rohrabacher press release, 21 Mar 2012.

Even a member of Congress is confused by the "many brands" of US international broadcasting. Balochistan is far to the west, or, depending how you spin your globe, far to the east of Radio Free Asia's target region. Balochistan would be closer to the territory of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has a Pashto service (Radio Mashaal) to the frontier region of Pakistan. And, in fact, former BBG chairman Walter Isaacson said in July 2011 that he would put the appeal by Balochi activists for a VOA Balochi service on the Board's agenda. (See previous posts on 16 July 2011 and 10 Jan 2010.)

Knowing Congress, and knowing US international broadcasting, this is my prediction, and remember you read it here first: RFA, RFE/RL, and VOA all will add Balochi services. They will compete for talent from what must be small pool of Balochi-speaking stringers. They will all cover the same news, as it happens, from Balochistan.