Friday, November 9th 2012
Posting this article on behalf of my blogger colleague Alan Heil.
It has been a week of stunning contrasts: the world’s largest democracy, the United States, re-elects a president and other key leaders on Tuesday in which 118 million citizens, including earlier absentee voters, cast their ballots.
Less than 48 hours later, the world’s largest authoritarian government, the Peoples Republic of China, convenes a communist party congress in Beijing. That forum in a few days will announce new top leadership pre-selected behind closed doors by a tiny fraction of its 1.2 billion citizens, installing a new party chairman, Xi Jinping, and a powerful politburo standing committee whose members have not yet been made public.
By all accounts, that contrast should be a Western public diplomacy practitioner’s dream.Read More
Tuesday, October 16th 2012
John Cale, a founder of the Velvet Underground and prolific musical innovator, explained in a recent interview what set his direction at age fifteen, when he was a viola student in Wales. "There was this fella called Willis Conover," he began. The legendary Voice of America jazz broadcaster spun Miles Davis records that Cale struggled to understand.Read More
Thursday, August 30th 2012
PDC Also Calls for the Immediate Release of Journalists Held in Syria
The Public Diplomacy Council joins the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in calling for the immediate release of two journalists of the U.S.-funded Alhurra TV network in Arabic held for the past week in Syria. The Council endorses the BBG statement urging the Syrian government to ensure their safety.Read More
Wednesday, August 29th 2012
“Truth and personal integrity,” legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow once said, “are the ultimate persuaders of men and nations.”
So it is today at the nation’s largest and only global publicly-funded international network, the Voice of America. The sacrifices of frontline VOA journalists barely rate mention in the mainstream press --- even though these centurions of truth daily fulfill Murrow’s charge.Read More
Wednesday, February 15th 2012
The president’s 2013 budget proposal this week was big news in Washington, but for those who care about public diplomacy and international broadcasting, the most interesting parts involved the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio & TV Marti, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks of Radio Sawa and Alhurra TV.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees these organizations, has proposed some significant cuts in the overall budget, which is hardly surprising given the nation’s economic problems. But they’ve also proposed sweeping changes in the way they want the broadcasters to operate in the future.
Three aspects of the BBG’s proposal particularly caught my attention:
The first was the lack of recognition of VOA's historical mission of informing international audiences about the U.S. and U.S. policies, or, put another way, telling them about who Americans are, and what we believe in. The BBG's newly rewritten mission statement makes no reference to this role, which could well prompt members of Congress to question why they should spend scarce taxpayer dollars on simply supporting another international news service, even a reformed one. VOA was originally created to counter anti-American propaganda, among other reasons, and while many things have changed since those early days of World War II, the need to counter anti-American propaganda has, unfortunately, not. Unless there's a central and acknowledged role in the BBG's – and VOA's – mission for providing accurate, balanced, and comprehensive information about the U.S. and our policies, then it undermines the BBG's and VOA's entire reason for being.Read More