This is the second time the change of leadership has taken place in less than six months this week. And the outgoing acting director, Elez Biberaj, is not going quietly.
Biberaj warned in an internal note on Tuesday night that “attempts to undermine the VOA’s journalistic independence threaten to undermine our hard-won credibility at a time of global democratic decline and heightened international threats to American values and moral leadership.”
The comments were directed to VOA’s parent organization, the U.S. Global Media Agency, which oversees the implementation of VOA and other U.S.-sponsored media operations around the world.
Pack’s actions examined the legal actions of legislators and individuals concerned from both sides of the corridor.
USAGM oversees Voice of America, Radio Free Europe / Radio Freedom, Radio Free Asia, Middle Eastern Broadcasting Networks, and the Cuban Broadcasting Bureau. The agency’s designated mission is to “inform, engage and connect people around the world to support freedom and democracy”.
There have been a number of changes throughout the organization in recent months, and VOA disruptions have attracted much attention.
Amanda Bennett, VOA’s highly respected director, resigned before Pack’s overhaul. Pack appointed Biberaj as acting director.
Biberaj publicly defended the VOA’s independence, and in Tuesday’s note he hinted at behind-the-scenes tensions with Pack’s team.
“The last six months have been perhaps the most challenging period in VOA’s recent history,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, this period was marked by an adversarial relationship between the VOA and the USAGM. Some agency officials did not follow the rules, protocols, and processes that I considered inviolable, and were indifferent to the disruptive impact of their actions and decisions on the VOA’s operations and mission. opposite. . “
Biberaj said he will return to his previous position as director of the Eurasian division of the VOA.
Pack announced his new director, Robert R. Reilly, Wednesday morning. Reilly worked for a short time at the end of 2001 and 2002 and has decades of experience at the agency.
Reilly has decades of resume and conservative credentials, including service in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. A change in leadership in the last weeks of Trump’s office has revived concerns within the organization.
The American voice reporter, who is in touch with colleagues throughout the clothing, said that “many people at VOA are horrified, Reilly returns.”
Veteran VOA journalist also pointed to some of Reilly’s controversial writings. Reilly is the author of several books, including “Make Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Changes Everything” and “The Muslim Mental Closure: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.”
Pack and Reilly did not respond to interview requests on Wednesday.
Last summer, a Joe Biden campaign helper named Pack was “definitely unqualified,” and said a Biden administration would launch the Pack from USAGM.
However, replacing the Pack is complicated and it will take time to repair what many VOA staff perceive as damage to the institution.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to the reports.