THE AIRWAVES AND AN EAGLE: A PRESS FREEDOM DAY CHALLENGE

Next Thursday, May 3rd, the world will celebrate Press Freedom Day. For America’s publicly-funded international broadcasters, the challenges have never been more formidable. Both Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House recently issued annual reports citing steady overall declines in press freedom globally in the past dozen years, with the Middle East and Eurasia registering the…

U.S. Broadcasters Train Journalists Worldwide

“The last three feet,” according to the late famed journalist and USIA Director Edward R. Murrow, is a classic catchword in public diplomacy statecraft. A common misperception is that U.S.-funded international broadcasters transmit signals from thousands of miles away and are largely removed from their listeners, viewers and online users. Virtually unknown: the extraordinary reach…

Portrait of General Marshall

The Marshall Plan at 70: Lessons for Today

Imagine spending 12 percent of the entire U.S. budget to help displaced and mostly impoverished Middle East, African and Afghan refugees to rebuild their lives?  The Marshall Plan of 1947 did just that for war-torn postwar Europe.  It was an indispensable helping hand for an entire generation recovering from devastation and dislocation after World War II. The…

US International Broadcasting Then and Now

By Alan Heil A SHORTWAVE CHRYSALIS TO A MULTIMEDIA BUTTERFLY: U.S. INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING THEN AND NOW Last Monday was indeed a memorable day for historians of our nation’s publicly-funded international broadcasters.  In the 20th century, these scholars were challenged to understand hot and Cold Wars, and convey what they learned, largely on shortwave radio.   Now they…

Don’t Kick VOA When It’s Down

VOA’s alleged mishandling of a Chinese insider’s interview shouldn’t overshadow the important work done by it and the other U.S. government-sponsored broadcasters. See my latest commentary in The American Interest: The Voice of America (VOA) celebrated its 75th anniversary in March, but it didn’t have much time to savor its diamond jubilee. Just a month later,…