This month, the Voice of America Tibetan Service is marking its twentieth anniversary. The broadcasts began in March 1991 to meet the need of the Tibetan population for uncensored news and information about events in their own area, in the rest of China, and around the world.
VOA’s Tibetan Service began with a 15-minute daily broadcast on short-wave radio. Today, it is hailed as one of the most influential Tibetan language multi-media platforms in the world, with two hours of original television programming each week, and 42 hours of radio. The programs are broadcast on shortwave, transmitted via satellite, and streamed on the website - www.voanews.com/tibetan/news.
The Voice of America has also made the broadcasts accessible to Tibetans through the latest social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, with ongoing strategies to combat jamming and Internet restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.
As with VOA multi-media broadcasts in all of its 44 language services, the Tibetan programs include news, editorials expressing U.S. policies, and feature stories on science, health, economics, the arts, and other subjects. The Tibetan Service adheres strictly to the VOA charter, which requires that the news be presented in an accurate, objective, and comprehensive manner.
In Tibet, as in other parts of China, citizens have limited access to objective news. The U.S. State Department points out in its latest annual human rights report that "the [Chinese] government continued to control print, broadcast, and electronic media tightly and used them to propagate government views and [Chinese Communist Party] ideology. During the year [of reporting], the government increased censorship and manipulation of the press and the Internet during sensitive anniversaries."
"The [Chinese] government's human rights record in Tibetan areas of China remained poor," the annual Human Rights Report states. "The government strictly controlled information about, and access to. . .Tibetan areas . . . making it difficult to determine accurately the scope of human rights abuses."
The U.S. will continue to speak out on the need to respect the human rights of Tibetans -- and all Chinese citizens. And as it has done for the past 20 years, VOA will continue its efforts to broadcast accurate, objective, and comprehensive news in the Tibetan language.