The United States Administration led by US President Donald Trump has curbed all the important technical assistance to the pro-democracy groups in Hong-Kong, Belarus and Iran. The technical assistance as provided by the Trump administration were to help the activists in evading state surveillance system and sidestep internet censorship.
OTF would be unable to continue it’s service in Belarus, Hog-Kong and Iran
A new Trump appointee Michael Pack has put stop to congressionally mandatory aid of around $20m to OTF (Open Technology Fund) which is a non profit organization. Because of this step, now OTF would be unable to continue it’s services and several activities which supported civil society in Hong-Kong and Iran.
OTF was founded to develop technologies which evades cyber-surveillance system and bypass blackouts imposed by authorities, of Internet and radios. regular help is provided by the organization in installing and maintaining technology to the pro-democracy movements, for the purpose to stay at least one step ahead of the State. Karen Kornbluh, The head of the OTF board, confirmed that the end of funding from the US Administration will mean that activists that were living under authoritarian regimes were at increased risk. USAGM ( US Agency for Global Media)was run buy pack since June, she added.
Now population of these countries will find it hard to listen to Voice of America
She further added that the freeze also means that the people in those countries now will find it harder to listen to the Voice of America, which is the USAGM’s flagship broadcaster. The population in those countries also will not be able to reach stations like Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia funded by USAGM, because it will be much difficult to overcome state jamming methods.
Pack is an ally of former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon which removed all the top management and boards of the broadcasters which were under its control, stopped spending, and raised the profile of pro-administration after taking charge of USAGM.