Thursday, February 2nd 2017
"The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we shall tell you the truth.”
These words were uttered 75 years ago in the first broadcast by the Voice of America. They still guide the U.S. Government's flagship foreign media organization in its output, now spanning all the digital media as well as traditional broadcast channels.
Whether you would like to discover the VOA or be reminded of its history, here's a blog post to get you started.Read More
Thursday, January 19th 2017
The most effective western responses to the challenge of Kremlin media fall across three categories of action: exposure of Russian disinformation, engagement with endangered populations and enhancement of local media.
Author: Nicholas CullRead More
Saturday, October 15th 2016
A recent inspection report provided details of how the Voice of America (VOA) Correspondent Cairo Bureau and the Cairo office of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
Headline: U.S. International Broadcasting to EgyptRead More
Sunday, September 18th 2016
“The practice of intelligence differed considerably between East and West during the Cold War. Western intelligence services were most commonly tasked with gathering information, but their Soviet bloc counterparts placed much greater emphasis on deception operations to influence opinions or actions of individuals and governments.
“These “active measures” (aktivinyye meropriatia, as the Soviets called them) included manipulation and media control, written and oral disinformation, use of foreign communist parties and front organizations, clandestine radio broadcasting, manipulation of the economy, kidnappings, paramilitary operations, and support of guerrilla groups and terrorist organizations. Under Joseph Stalin, active measures also included political assassinations. The basic goal of Soviet active measures was to weaken the USSR’s opponents — first and foremost the “main enemy” (glavny protivnik), the United States — and to create a favorable environment for advancing Moscow’s views and international objectives worldwide.
“This is the story of one such measure — a campaign to implicate the United States in the emergence of the AIDS pandemic that appeared in the early 1980s. The story both illustrates the nature of Soviet and communist bloc disinformation programs and demonstrates the potential long-term consequences.” [Front abstract]
The revived and upgraded use of disinformation by Russia is now an important factor in international affairs. This article should be part of any basic study of Public Diplomacy, disinformation, and influence. Understanding in detail how the Soviet Union wielded information during the Cold War helps illuminate the disturbing contemporary trend. [DMB]
Subhead: “Our friends in Moscow call it ‘dezinformatsiya.’ Our enemies in America call it ‘active measures,’ and I, dear friends, call it ‘my favorite pastime.’” -- Colonel Rolf Wagenbreth, director of Department X (disinformation) of East German foreign intelligence.Read More
Sunday, August 28th 2016
Public diplomacy, public affairs, U.S. international broadcasting, and the armed forces’ information operations all – in different ways, different settings, and to different audiences – seek to make the case and win support for U.S. goals. Our hazardous times require a closer alignment of these various disciplines, so Public Diplomacy practitioners must be familiar with each.
Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel James R. McGrath, writing in Joint Force Quarterly, performed a valuable service by tracing some of the professional issues that challenge information operations in a July 1, 2016, article, “Twenty-First Century Information Warfare and the Third Offset Strategy.”
There’s no direct mention of Public Diplomacy, but the article’s sorting through the “third offset,” “psychological warfare,” “C2 warfare,” “denial and deception,” “cyber warfare,” “engagement,” and “IE situational awareness” is surely suggestive. For instance, Lieutenant Colonel McGrath identifies shortcomings in “strategic shaping.” Public Diplomacy practitioners don’t use that term, but it might describe how Public Affairs Officers and embassies and consulates implement an integrated country strategy.Read More