While no country is helping Ukraine fight its war with Russia by putting their own boots on the ground, nearly every country is applying some type of pressure on Putin to end the unprovoked invasion of his neighbor. Should radio end all Russian programming?
The NAB is calling on broadcasters to “cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents.” The statement from NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt is in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Not everyone agrees with that call from the NAB…
Here’s what LeGeyt said on Tuesday. “The National Association of Broadcasters is a fierce defender of the First Amendment and the critical importance of the ability to freely express views, both popular and unpopular. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, however, it does not prevent private actors from exercising sound, moral judgment. To that end, given the unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine, NAB calls on broadcasters to cease carrying any state-sponsored programming with ties to the Russian government or its agents. While we know that airings of such programs are extremely limited, we believe that our nation must stand fully united against misinformation and for freedom and democracy across the globe.”
John Garziglia and his wife are the owners of Reston Translator, the licensee entity that owns FM translator W288BS in Reston, Virginia which rebroadcasts WZHF-AM in the Washington DC metro. WZHF-AM carries Radio Sputnik. Garziglia took aim at the NAB’s statement. “The NAB is to be commended for its strong stand on the First Amendment but gets it very wrong by becoming part of the cancel culture in calling upon broadcasters to cease carrying the Russian viewpoint, denoting it “misinformation” in general.
“Misinformation similar to that the NAB believes is carried by Russian media is broadcast countless times every day by NAB member stations, yet the NAB has failed for many years to speak out against such untrue broadcast programming. That the NAB chooses to request suppression of speech by its members only now suggests that it simply wants to be part of a patriotic movement taking vodka off the shelves.
“The unprovoked aggression exhibited by Russia against the free and sovereign people of Ukraine is cause for every American’s concern including US broadcasters. I suggest, however, that the radio programming with ties to the Russian government, of which the NAB complains, may give important hints or information as to the Russian point of view, and to ask that it not be disseminated is contrary to both the underlying rationale of our First Amendment, and to our quest for knowledge of all viewpoints no matter how pernicious or wrong the opinion or information may be.”