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.
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.
Tuesday, December 27th 2011
Amid the media year-enders, perhaps United States public diplomacy deserves a look. What changed for the people who conduct PD in the State Department and the broadcasting operations? Major developments both in the U.S and overseas affected the nation’s image, of course, but there were also changes inside the public diplomacy apparatus.
Thursday, December 8th 2011
I'm afraid the concept of a virtual embassy in Teheran is virtually nonexistent. Such virtual embassy websites are not difficult to block and that is exactly what Iran has done. Did this surprise anyone in the USG?
To quote the White House:
"Through this action, the Iranian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to build an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people."
Tuesday, November 22nd 2011
The recent highly successful PDC conference at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs illuminated the seldom recognized but essential work of public diplomacy officers abroad. It was a rich global scan of field post activities and their impact, both in today's digital communications environment but in the many professional dialogues administered by USIA and State Department specialists since 1999.