Andrew Harnik / AP file photo

Global Media Agency Seeks Feedback on Next Strategic Plan

The upcoming plan will span fiscal years 2022 to 2026. 

The U.S. Agency for Global Media is seeking public comment on what it should prioritize in its strategic plan for the next five years, after a controversial final year under the Trump administration. 

“In accordance with the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010, USAGM is required to submit its Strategic Plan to Congress the year following the start of a presidential term,” said Daniel Rosenhotlz, attorney-advisor for the agency, in a request for comments published in the Federal Register on Tuesday. “USAGM welcomes public input into this process.”

Specifically, the agency would like the feedback to address the following questions: What are the biggest challenges the agency and other publicly funded international media organizations will face over the next five years? What are the biggest opportunities for them? Do you have any advice for agency leaders on how to fulfil the agency’s mission “to inform, engage and connect audiences around the world in support of freedom and democracy?”

Comments for the strategic plan––which will be for fiscal years 2022-2026––are due by July 9. Ahead of the notice’s publication in the Federal Register, the agency sent an email to its listserv about the collection of feedback, which can also be submitted online

“While 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for USAGM, we are making tremendous strides toward a brighter future,” wrote Shawn Powers, chief strategy officer. 

Also, “with the rise of authoritarianism, an escalation of threats to free media, and media environments awash in disinformation, our work is more important than ever,” he said. “Each week, our networks — Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks — reach more than 354 million people across the globe providing independent journalism in some of the most dangerous, media-repressed parts of the world. The USAGM-supported Open Technology Fund is helping to get that content past the censors and internet blockages that a growing number of governments try to impose.” 

Since the Biden administration took over, the agency has been working to restore trust and credibility. Michael Pack was confirmed as chief executive officer of the U.S. Agency for Global Media in June 2020 and during his seven months in office, he and his officials made sweeping editorial, personnel and operational changes at the agency and the networks it oversees. The Office of Special Counsel determined during its ongoing investigation in December 2020 there was a “substantial likelihood” of wrongdoing among top agency leadership. 

The agency’s current strategic plan, which was also formed with stakeholder feedback, was published when it was still called the Broadcasting Board of Governors. In August 2018, the agency was officially restructured and was renamed the U.S. Agency for Global Media.