The U.S. Agency for Global Media has asked three of its outlets to return more than $3 million they were allocated to help people in countries like China and Iran access impartial online news without their government’s knowledge, according to an agency official familiar with the matter.
The official said Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe, were told to return the so-called internet freedom money to USAGM. In Radio Free Asia’s case, that money was supposed to go to the Open Technology Fund, a digital rights non-profit financed by taxpayers.
It’s the latest example of how the Trump administration is trying to revamp the agency, which oversees taxpayer-funded media properties, and which the administration says has strayed too far from its mission of representing the U.S. abroad. New CEO Michael Pack has tried to dramatically reshape the agency by firing outlet heads and other senior