Voice of America Will Get a New Director

Michael Abramowitz will be the next director of the federally funded broadcaster Voice of America, its parent, the U.S. Agency for Global Media, announced on Friday.

Mr. Abramowitz, 60, is currently the president of Freedom House, a pro-democracy nonprofit organization, a role he has held since 2017. He was previously a director at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and spent 24 years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post.

Voice of America, which was founded in 1942, aims to offer unbiased news to audiences around the world. Mr. Abramowitz said he is drawn to the outlet’s global reach and its mission to counter propaganda and disinformation coming from authoritarian countries like China, Russia and Iran.

“These countries are waging ferocious information warfare aimed at undermining democracies, aimed at undermining the United States, and we need to fight back,” Mr. Abramowitz said in an interview. “I think that the V.O.A. is one very important tool for the United States government in this information war.”

He added that “attacks on journalism and the attacks on journalists have really been a harbinger of democratic decline around the world, so the opportunity to push back on that is deeply meaningful and attractive to me.”

Mr. Abramowitz is expected to start the role this summer. He succeeds John Lippman, the acting director since October 2023. Voice of America has not had a permanent director since 2021.

“Michael is an esteemed journalist and a champion for human rights, and much of his work at Freedom House has informed our own efforts to counter disinformation and authoritarianism around the world,” Amanda Bennett, the chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, said in a statement.

Voice of America says it reaches more than 326 million people each week with news in 48 languages via digital, TV and radio outlets. It has a firewall designed to protect its editorial independence from U.S. governmental interference.

The organization came under attack from former President Donald J. Trump during his term. In 2020, Mr. Trump appointed Michael Pack, an ally of his aide Stephen K. Bannon, to run the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Mr. Pack was accused of trying to turn Voice of America into a mouthpiece for the Trump administration, and a federal judge ruled that Mr. Pack had violated the First Amendment rights of the outlet’s journalists. A federal investigation later found that Mr. Pack had grossly mismanaged the U.S. Agency for Global Media, repeatedly abusing his power by sidelining executives he felt did not sufficiently support Mr. Trump.

Mr. Abramowitz said he was confident that there was support for Voice of America’s mission “across partisan lines.”

“The idea that we need to push back against authoritarian propaganda, these are values that are shared by people across the political spectrum,” he said.

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