(New York, NY) — NPR News reported today that journalists with Voice of America based in the U.S. will not have their visas extended once they have expired. That decision reportedly comes at the behest of the newly confirmed CEO of the agency that runs VOA and other government-funded news services. PEN America’s CEO Suzanne Nossel said the following:

“This reported decision puts the lives of intrepid, free-thinking foreign journalists at risk. Many of these journalists have worked with VOA precisely because it offers them the opportunity to report stories that they cannot tell in their home countries without risk of severe punishment. If these journalists are forced to return home, some of them will be greeted with jail cells or worse. It is appalling that the VOA’s new boss could be so reckless about the safety of journalists who have given their talents and insights to help the United States inform the global public. These journalists deserve protection, not betrayal.”