President Trump’s newly appointed chief of federally funded media operations fired the heads of at least three organizations Wednesday in a move critics fear heralds the end of independent news coverage. Michael Pack, the new CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, sent out notices on Wednesday night announcing the firings. Among the heads of agencies on the chopping block were Radio Free Asia’s Bay Fang, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe’s Jamie Fly, and Middle East Broadcasting Network’s Alberto Fernandez, according to the Associated Press. The purging of top officials has raised concerns that Pack, a conservative filmmaker, could turn the media organizations into mouthpieces for Trump, who repeatedly attacked Voice of America on Twitter before the White House bizarrely accused the news outlet of spreading Chinese propaganda in April. In announcing the reshuffling on Wednesday, Pack reportedly also stated that he had gotten rid of the current members of the agencies’ respective boards and replaced them with his own team.
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