Rep Rohrabacher believes "abrupt dismissal" of Radio Free Asia Tibetan director was "for political reasons" (updated).

Posted: 28 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Tibet Sun, 20 Nov 2012, Lobsang Wangyal: "Radio Free Asia (RFA) has dismissed Nagpo Jigme, its director of Tibetan Language Service, without revealing the reasons for his sacking. Npo has been director of the Radio Free Asia Tibetan Service since its inception 16 years ago. Jamyang Norbu, author, intellectual, and prominent supporter of Tibetan independence, also had his contract terminated by RFA, a few months ago. It is speculated that pressure from the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala is responsible for the recent removal of the long-time Director. On being asked by Tibet Sun about the reasons for Ngapo’s dismissal, RFA’s Media Relations Manager Rohit Mahajan replied in an email: '... Speculation that Mr Ngapo’s employment was terminated for political reasons is categorically untrue,' and that reports of Ngapo was escorted from the building by security personnel are false. ... In a letter to Radio Free Asia President Libby Liu on 15 November inquiring about Ngapo’s dismissal, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher expressed concerns about censorship in the radio service. Rohrabacher wrote, 'I have reason to believe that he was terminated for political reasons.'"

VOA News, 21 Nov 2012: "In a statement released to VOA, RFA said all of its management decisions are based on how it can best produce high quality, objective programming."

Representative Dana Rohrabacker press release, 19 Nov 2012: "Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46) sent a letter to Lobsang Sangay, the Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-In-Exile to express outrage that he and other Tibetan leaders are attempting to manipulate the news that is being reported by the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia. Representative Rohrabacher wrote to Sangay, 'actions taken by you and other Tibetan leaders … are eroding support within the US Congress for the Tibetan cause. You and your cohorts must immediately cease making disparaging remarks and taking harmful actions aimed at the Tibetan Service of Radio Free Asia and its loyal, hard working Tibetan-American staff.' It appears that pressure from the Tibetan Government-In-Exile is responsible for the recent firing of the long time Director of the Tibetan Service within Radio Free Asia, Jigme Ngapo. Ngapo is well respected within the Tibetan community and known for encouraging open discussion about Tibet’s future, including independence, a position not advocated by Sangay and some other individuals in the Tibetan Government-In-Exile." With link to pdf of Rep. Rohrabacher's letter.

Phayul, 21 Nov 2012: "Rohrabacher, who is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Foreign Affairs, had earlier written to Libby Liu, president of RFA, inquiring about Ngapo’s 'abrupt dismissal.' In October, a vast majority of the staff at RFA’s Tibetan Service had signed a letter addressed to Liu expressing their shock at Ngapo’s 'sudden resignation,' while vouching their 'full support and loyalty' in his 'exemplary' leadership."

Tibetan Review, 23 Nov 2012: "The head of the exile Tibetan administration, Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, has expressed regret that his and the Central Tibetan Administration’s names have been dragged into matters that are internal between Radio Free Asia (RFA), a congressionally funded independent broadcasting service, and its long time Tibetan Service director Mr Jigme Ngapo. Through a Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) press statement Nov 21, he issued a categorical denial of having ever contacted either the RFA President, Ms Libby Liu, or any member of its oversight body, the Broadcasting Board of Governor, on matters related to RFA personnel."

High Peaks Pure Earth, 13 Nov 2012, Woeser (translated from her blog): "Radio Free Asia should clearly explain their reasons for dismissing Mr. Ngapo. This is not a personal issue for Mr. Ngapo alone, in reality, this has caused people from all circles to worry about the future of the Tibetan service of RFA. One will also be concerned with the negative impact it has for campaigns for Tibet abroad and the perplexity it has caused for people in Tibetan areas in China, in particular, at the juncture when the current situation in Tibet has never been so severe." See also HPPE, 27 Nov 2012.

Update: Phayul, 28 Nov 2012, Jamyang Norbu: "[C]omplaints began circulating from Dharamshala about the political correctness of those speaking on RFA programs. About eight years ago two important CTA [Central Tibetan Adminsitration] officials paid a formal visit to the RFA office and gave a talk to Jigme and the Tibetan staff. The two VIP’s deplored RFA’s policy of allowing people on its programs who were opposed to the Dalai Lama and the exile administration and whose criticisms were demoralizing Tibetans inside Tibet. RFA’s editorial independence continued to annoy the exile government, and during his entire tenure prime-minister Samdong Rinpoche refused to grant RFA any interviews or meetings, and instructed cabinet ministers and secretaries to do the same. He also conducted a low-profile but relentless crusade against RFA for allowing those 'opposed' to the Tibetan government opportunities to express their views on its program. Then last year the President of RFA, Libby Liu and her right-hand man, Tibetan staff member, Kalden Lodoe made a number of official trips to Dharamshala and elsewhere to meet with exile officials and the prime-minister Lobsang Sangye. One informant told me that in these discussions direct references were made to TYC [Tibet Youth Congress] leaders and rangzen activists like myself who disagreed with the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way policy."

BBG Watch, 28 Nov 2012, anonymous "BBG Watcher": "The Radio Free Asia (RFA) Tibetan Service leads all international broadcasters in quick, extensive and objective reporting on the current unrest in Tibet despite the recent firing of its longtime director — a decision which raised some concerns among lawmakers on Capitol Hill. ... Radio Free Asia, headed by its president Libby Liu, has a reputation as being the most transparent and the best managed among U.S. government-funded international broadcasters which report to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Unlike, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and the Voice of America (VOA), RFA has had good labor-management relations and no major scandals involving programming or personnel in recent years. ... Sources told BBG Watch that Radio Free Asia has the strongest and the best pro-human rights radio programming among BBG broadcasters while at the same time it is a leader in overcoming censorship using advanced digital media technologies. That is not true of some of the other BBG-managed broadcasters. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has become an enemy of anti-Kremlin human rights and political leaders in Russia after it fired most of its experienced Russian journalists and de-emphasized political and human rights news reporting." -- I was hoping that BBG Watch might show some balance by criticizing all the managements of all the BBG entities with equal fervor. Instead, in the internecine conflict of the entities, it seems BBG Watch is an RFA cheerleader.