Africa

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What's In VOA's Charter – And What Isn't

Tuesday, March 7th 2017

Since last year there has been an effort at the Voice of America to expand into “investigative reporting”. The best response by VOA’s stakeholders to this effort should be a firm and unequivocal No.

Why? Just look at VOA’s website.

Every day this government agency distributes stories to audiences around the world that are not even written by VOA’s employees. Instead, they’re written by reporters at The Associated Press, or Reuters. And that’s a problem.

The reason is because VOA’s reporters are required by law to follow strict guidelines regulating what kind of stories they should cover and, even more importantly, how to cover them. But outside organizations such as AP don’t have to follow those rules, and when they don’t, that’s a violation of the Charter under which VOA operates.

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David S. Jackson

David Jackson is a veteran journalist and former U.S. government official with extensive multimedia communications experience in domestic and international markets.

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Author: David S Jackson

A Response to "The Race to 'Win' Africa"

Wednesday, September 9th 2015

After reading Tara Schoenborn’s September 1 Commentary, I’d like to offer a different perspective on some of the issues she has raised, especially because they're ones that Americans involved with public diplomacy will often deal with when they work abroad.

The first is her description of the U.S. as a “hegemonic” power.

The world has some nations that are, or aspire to be, hegemonic powers, but I think it’s misleading to brand the U.S. as one. Yes, we want to spread democracy because we think democratic nations are more peaceful and prosperous (and thus good prospective trading partners with us and other democracies). But we don’t want to run them or have responsibility for them.

Can you call our use of economic power hegemonic when we use it to open our market to foreign trading partners even when it has hurt domestic industries or workers? Compare that to how Russia has used its economic power to damage or thwart foreign competition. As for our military power: It has historically been used reluctantly and even selflessly, including helping to train others so they can protect themselves.

Meanwhile, what other nation has a better record than ours of offering aid to Africa or anywhere else with so few strings attached? The colonial model has never held much appeal to Americans, possibly because so many Americans are isolationists at heart.

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David S. Jackson

David Jackson is a veteran journalist and former U.S. government official with extensive multimedia communications experience in domestic and international markets.

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Author: David S Jackson

Dark continent? How Africa's communications revolution is eroding bad press

Sunday, July 27th 2014

By Joan Mower, Head of Development, Voice of America. John Hopkins University adjunct lecturer in Public Diplomacy. Ms. Mower will be a guest speaker at the First Monday Lunch Forum on August 4th. 

Is the news media killing American investment in Africa?

Perhaps — but the tide is turning. Africans have long complained about the media’s negative bias towards their continent, and a quick Google search of top stories out of Africa lately confirms the thesis that “if it bleeds, it leads.” Ebola, Boko Haram and ethnic violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic dominate current international coverage of the continent.

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Please contact PDC Graduate Fellow Tara Schoenborn at taraschoenborn@gmail.com to inquire about contributing to the Public Diplomacy Council website. 

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Author: Guest Contributor

The Arts as Diplomacy

Monday, January 7th 2013

Today’s panel on Cultural Diplomacy depicted a panorama of performance-art-as-exchange under the aegis of “cultural diplomacy.”  All the programs highlighted were sponsored by governments.

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Joe B. Johnson

Board member

 

Joe B. Johnson consults on government communication and technology after a career in the United States Foreign Service.  He is an instructor for the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where he teaches strategic planning for public diplomacy.

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Author: Joe Johnson

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