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Top Voice of America Directors Resign Over Confirmation of New CEO With Ties to Steve Bannon

Director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned Monday

Voice of America’s director and deputy director resigned this week after the congressional confirmation of conservative filmmaker Michael Pack to oversee the government broadcast agency. Pack is a close ally of former campaign strategist and White House adviser Stephen Bannon.

Director Amanda Bennet and deputy director Sandra Sugawara resigned Monday, according to Voice of America, a news organization funded by the American government that maintains independence and objectivity.

After a push from President Donald Trump’s administration, Pack is now the CEO-designate for the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees the international network and other federally-funded media organizations. Pack’s promotion was widely opposed by Democratic leaders.

In the duo’s four-year tenure, according to VOA, the organization’s radio, television and online audience grew by nearly 109 million people to 280.9 million a week. That data comes from annual surveys commissioned by the agency Pack will lead following his recent Senate confirmation.

The organization also pointed out in a statement that under Bennet and Sugawara, VOA doubled down on its mission of delivering objective news and information to those without a free press, “telling America’s story,” and laying out America’s government and policies to the world.

In a memo to VOA staffers, Bennett wrote on behalf of herself and Sugawara, “Nothing about you, your passion, your mission or your integrity changes. Michael Pack swore before Congress to respect and honor the firewall that guarantees VOA’s independence, which in turn plays the single most important role in the stunning trust our audiences around the world have in us. We know that each one of you will offer him all of your skills, your professionalism, your dedication to mission, your journalistic integrity and your personal hard work to guarantee that promise is fulfilled.”