On Sunday, October 4, 2020, National Public Radio (NPR) reported that two political appointees overseeing Voice of America launched an investigation and compiled a confidential report alleging that Steve Herman, VOA’s White House bureau chief, was biased against President Donald Trump.
Allegations from political appointees regarding the journalistic integrity of Steve Herman’s work are alarming. They are the latest in a slew of insidious actions undermining VOA’s editorial independence, as reported by NPR. These actions violate the First Amendment as well as a statutory firewall intended to make the U.S. Agency for Global Media impervious to political interference in order to maintain “the highest standards of professional journalism.”
We condemn any action taken that undermines the journalistic independence of VOA. AAJA stands with Steve Herman, a long-time AAJA member and board member of the Washington, D.C., chapter of AAJA, and we stand behind a free press, independent of government interference, especially in this moment when a free press is crucial to Americans’ well-being and full participation in democratic processes.
—AAJA-D.C. Chapter and AAJA National Board of Directors