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SPJ statement on allegations against VOA reporter


Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is disturbed to learn that politically appointed functionaries in the U.S. Agency for Global Media issued a complaint against Voice of America White House bureau chief Steve Herman for being biased against President Trump, in violation of laws and regulations meant to prevent political interference at the federally funded global news outlet.

SPJ has long stood for the editorial independence of VOA reporters and editors. This support was re-affirmed at SPJ2020 Journalism Conference on Sept. 12. SPJ has spoken out against the attacks on editorial independence of VOA numerous times this year.

Herman has a 26-year record of ethical journalism reporting from Asia as a former bureau chief in India, South Korea and Thailand. His articles, columns and reviews have been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, he has appeared on many news programs throughout his career, and he has been chairman and president of foreign press clubs in Japan and Seoul.

“You can read it on VOA’s website: Editorial independence is ‘enshrined’ in the parent agency’s enabling legislation,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “Bureaucrats bound by law and their better angels should not intrude on VOA’s journalism in any way. We join the Asian American Journalists Association in condemning any actions that threaten that independence.”

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