Washington, DC.- The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, State, and Related Programs, requesting the federal government to restore $480,000 in funding for the Voice of America Greek Service for Fiscal Year 2008. The testimony has been entered into the Public Record.
“The Greek Service is extremely crucial to the Greek-American community and to the United Statesʼ interests in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said National President Gus. J. James, II. “It plays a significant role in communicating an accurate message abroad to a part of the globe that is situated on the doorsteps of the Middle East and the Balkans.”
Separately, AHEPA sent letters presenting its position to Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over VOA, and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), who is the ranking member on the Subcommittee.
“The elimination of the Greek Service just doesnʼt make sense,” added James, who said the TV broadcast portion receives a 4.5% viewer rating in Greece, and that combined with radio and the Internet, the Service is viewed or heard by one million persons. Ratings for Cyprus are unable to be surveyed due to improper funding.
Moreover, AHEPA commends the effort by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), who circulated a letter about the VOA funding issue to colleagues in the House of Representatives.
“We are thankful to Congressman Sarbanes for initiating the effort, and we applaud those members of Congress who co-signed the letter,” said James. “They are to be commended by our community.”
In addition to Sarbanes, Hellenic Caucus Chairpersons Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), along with Reps. Zack Space (D-OH), James P. McGovern (D-MA), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) co-signed the letter.