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St. Petersburg Times: Time to Scrap TV Marti, Critics Say

Author: David Adams
February 16, 2009

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Pressure is building on the U.S. government to pull the plug on TV Marti, its expensive broadcast station for Cuba that has failed to overcome jamming efforts by the Cuban government.

Excerpt: Everything about the evening newscast at TV Marti looks and sounds as it might at any live broadcast studio.

Cameras, lights, a smooth-voiced anchor and a roomful of technicians sitting in front of monitors get ready as the seconds tick down to 6 p.m.

All that is missing is the audience.

For the past 18 years that has been the daily dilemma at TV Marti, the world's least-watched news station. The United States has spent an estimated half billion dollars over the past two decades broadcasting TV and radio programming into Cuba.

But the U.S. government has yet to find a way to stop Cuba from jamming the signal of TV Marti, according to a report issued this month by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress. Even though the radio signal has better reception, both TV and Radio Marti had audiences of less than 1 percent of Cuba's 11 million residents, it said.

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