Radio Free Asia – Biased Reporting

Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a not-for-profit corporation aimed at providing “information to people living under repressive regimes in Asia”. Based out of Washington, USA, the service broadcasts in several languages and they are known in Tibetan communities for reporting current events within Tibet and the Tibetan diaspora. Their Tibetan Service however, has mostly skirted around the issues relating to the practice of Dorje Shugden and the repressive nature of the ban on its practice imposed by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). Whenever RFA has reported on the ban, it provides a truly bias view, unbecoming of an organization that “adheres to rigorous journalistic standards of objectivity, accuracy and fairness” as stated on its mission page online.

Despite the overwhelming evidence surrounding the persecution of Shugden practitioners, RFA continues to promote the CTA’s illegal ban on the veneration of Dorje Shugden. In December 2010, RFA posted a media clip of the then-Prime Minister of the Tibetan Government-In-Exile, Samdong Rinpoche giving a speech during which he labelled all Shugden practitioners as “traitors” and “terrorists”. Samdong Rinpoche called upon Tibetans to fight with Shugden followers as they were not to be tolerated. Since then, RFA have failed to post a single rebuttal from Shugden practitioners, nor even a single broadcast from a Shugden practitioner’s point-of-view, hardly adhering to the journalistic standards they so pride themselves on. In fact RFA covered the Dalai Lama’s visit to the US earlier this year, but not a single word was mentioned of the hundreds of Shugden practitioners following the Dalai Lama around the country to protest against the ban.

Mr. Ngapo Jigme, founder and former RFA Tibetan Service Director

RFA’s Tibetan Service itself has also been marred by controversy over the sudden dismissal of Mr. Ngapo Jigme in 2012. Mr Jigme founded the Tibetan service, served as its Service Director for over 16 years, and had the full support of all Tibetan Service staff. No reasons were given for his sudden forced departure, leading US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to lend his support and demand an answer for the dismissal. The Congressman even accused the Tibetan Prime Minister Sikyong Lobsang Sangye and the CTA of their involvement in the affair, and accused them of manipulating news reported by the Tibetan Service although it was a broadcasting service funded by the American government.

This control asserted by the CTA over RFA is more than reminiscent of the Chinese government’s unabated control over Chinese media, ensuring the masses are only told what those in power want them to hear. The CTA has long portrayed itself as democratic and fair but their actions blatantly speak otherwise. What makes matters worse is the CTA’s alleged financial mismanagement of funds allocated to it by the democratic American government while behaving in a wholly autocratic manner. The American government should look into these allegations further, which may uncover the extent to which the CTA has manipulated what the RFA broadcasts and its operations.

Statement of denial from the CTA. Click to enlarge.

Congressman Rohrabacher’s statement prompted an immediate and unconvincing reactionary statement from the CTA. It was suspected that Mr Jigme’s dismissal was influenced by the CTA’s dissatisfaction at the Tibetan Service’s lack of hard-line broadcasting of the CTA’s Shugden agenda, as exemplified in other Tibetan media.

Given the biasness of the RFA’s Tibetan Service since its inception, and the likelihood that the Tibetan Service has fallen victim to the machinations of the CTA and its hard-line stance as accused by a US Congressman, RFA has lost all credibility as a journalistic institution abiding by it principles. Will they ever broadcast from the point of view of Shugden practitioners in order to showcase their objectivity? Will they ever present a balanced view of any topics related to the Tibetan world? Well as things currently stand, we think not. They are obviously not a journalistic institution that abides by the standards of objectivity, accuracy and fairness as they portray themselves to be.

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4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. RFA will now be covering even much more for CTA now since the left of its director.

    I mean if there is no ban, why would anyone be afraid to talk about it?

    And Congressman Rohrabacher why would be so concerned about ‘nothing’? The Congressman was talking about specifically about censorship being enforced, to tailor made news to suit a select few.

    There was confusion about why anyone would have dismissed him

  2. RFA must be under bribe from CTA otherwise why wouldn’t they report factual instead remaining silent to the detriment and confusion of the Tibetan society? Why would RFA take censorship and afraid to publish the truth? This is certainly the ploy by CTA to hush-up their crime.

  3. That group (anti-shugden) who has been consistently contributing to ridicule, ostracism, condemnations, accusations are actually embarassing themselves and probably is afflicted with some kind of mental disorder?? The defensiveness of this sort is a sign of weakness, not strength. In their aggressive tactics, it reveals an insecurity, doubtless born in the unconsciuos dread that nature itself, thus disrespected. They are as naked as the emperor with new clothes, powerless. Sigh!

  4. In this recent most reporting of the RFA, they tried to defame the 11th Panchen Lama hand-picked by China and tried to separate the Tibetans society by publishing “Tibetans in Forced Show of Respect for Beijing-Backed Panchen Lama”

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Contemplate This

.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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