What is going on in VOA!

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Main Uddin Ahmed from New York:

Some journalists of Voice of America (VoA), working from different countries of the world, have resigned recently and the authorities concerned declared that its Bangla radio service broadcast is being closed forever from today, July 17, 2021.

VoA Bangla service was mainly aimed at the Bengali-speaking people of Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tripura & Assam which served the news-thirsty people for nearly 63 years.

VoA thinking to serve better through social media & TV for the Bangla service’s 16 million weekly listeners. Its Acting Program Director John Lippman said, “VoA radio transmissions were Bangla speaking peoples’ lifeline.”

Acting Chief of VoA Bangla service Satarupa Barua said, “VoA job is a dream job and it will continue to be.”

But reliable sources said that there were more stories behind the VoA Bangla service closure story. A report coming from a reliable source tells totally a different and sad story regarding the end of VoA Bangla service.

Newsmen in New York & Dhaka recently use to ask each other: “What is going on in VoA Bangla Serrvice?”

Once a fan club member and later a journalist of VoA said, it began to broadcast its programs in 1942.

It has been broadcasting programs in 45 different languages. Bangla language program began on January 1 in 1958. Media personality Ishtiaque Ahmed was the founding Chief of the VoA Bangla program. Following the footsteps of Ishtiaq Ahmed the Bangla program continued and it was lucky enough to get some broadcast tycoons at different times. Various renowned personalities worked as the head of VoA Bangla Service such as Iqbal Ahmed, Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury and Roquia Haider. Legends like Kafi Khan, Sarker Kabir Uddin, Dilara Hashem, Masuma Khatun, Sumon Chaterjee (was Member of Parliament of India), Amen Paine and Abdullah Al Farooq also enriched the VoA with their wisdom & devotion.

Voice of America is being run under the supervision of US Congress. A Congressional Board of 9 members look after the million dollars financing for this federal multimedia.

Administrative and bureaucratic complexities are very much existing there for long in VoA. There exists a CEO, a Director under him, and a Director (Program) under the previous Director. Beside this there are Divisional Directors for all the broadcasting languages under whom the programs on different languages get aired.

The inner administration of VoA, its appointments etc were never clear to the Congress.

Inner administration bosses use to appoint working hands for different posts based on their whim and nepotism but the Congressional Board is not informed adequately. The continuity of bureaucratic complexities and rule violation still exist in VoA, it was alleged.

Those who were the heads of Bangla Service at different times were the bright figures of the media world and before getting in to serve VoA they had already several years of experience and fame. With such rich backgrounds they served VoA gloriously.

Roquia Haider worked in VoA for more than 40 years and serving as the Head of Bangla Service with fame went on retirement in May this year.

But unfortunately VoA Bangla Service got such an Acting Head who has no bright past in media world, said another newsman who was affected in the changed situation.

She has no experience in this line at least to become the head. Once she worked in VoA for a period but as she could not satisfy the authorities concerned as an eligible one, she could not win the renewal and had to quit.

Becoming the Acting Head within a month this lady spoiled all the glories of the VoA Bangla Service. Quality of the program went down and by her odd behavior she annoyed most of the colleagues, it was alleged by a VoA fan club member. In the mean time many of the long time figures of VoA resigned due to her unfair behavior. Among the resigning persons there are: Dhaka Correspondent Amir Khasru, Kolkata Correspondent Paramashish Guharoy, New York Correspondent Akbar Haider Kiron, California Correspondent Dr. Abu Naser Rajib and Washington Contractor Jayati Dasgupta.

The newsman opined that the aurhorities concerned without any delay should look into the affairs to save VoA and its glory.

As the reason for resigning from the dream job a portion of the resignation letter of a VoA Correspondent can be seen which reads, journalists of VoA Bangla Service “are fearful about losing their jobs because an impression was given that the acting leader is so well connected with the top management that she can fire anyone any time.”

A poet & columnist from Toronto asked, “What justification makes VoA to shut down its Bangla radio broadcast service?”

When discussed the issue with some VoA Fan Club members and general listeners, most of them opined that, implementing the latest decision of the VoA program is possible not harming the interest of any newsman. If it is so that some of the dream job holders must be said ‘good bye’ that also can be done in a prestigious way and obviously not in any insulting manner.

At the conclusion we would like to draw the attention of the Congressional team to look into the whole affairs of VoA. This is not in accordance with American or VoA standard to say goodbye to its famous and genuine workers of media world. Compelling employees by misbehavior to resign could not be the way of VoA to deal with the situation. It could follow the way humane because history will preserve the event to mention time to time as VoA style. A state like USA cannot bear this negative image burden.