In Losing Arab Hearts and Minds: The Coalition, Al Jazeera and Muslim Public Opinion (see review here), Steve Tatham interviewed Middle East media consultant Ashraf Fouad in 2004 on the creation of Al-Hurra, the U.S.-sponsored television station:
If you look at it from the positive side it is much needed and it is long overdue. They should get involved in the debate. But if you look at it from the negative side then it is unacceptable. How dare you come and air a channel like this to try and brainwash my people, when your law in the U.S. bans you from airing something like this in the U.S.? It is against the Constitution to broadcast a government channel in the States. How dare you say that we are sheep, and that you can show us this, but you can’t show it to the American people? …
While it’s not in the Constitution, the Smith-Mundt Act certainly does prevent Al-Hurra from being broadcast to the American public. Among the various reasons for revisiting Smith-Mundt, the perception it creates of our overseas broadcasts and the lack of transparency of the same is not a myth, even if the modern understanding for the purpose for the prohibition is.
- Rethinking Smith-Mundt: a look back at its purpose
- New Media and Persuasion, Mobilization, and Facilitation
- A book for the aspiring architect of USIA 2.0
- Rethinking Smith-Mundt: responding to Sharon Weinberger
- American Progress: Build a National Consensus on Development and Dump Smith-Mundt (follow up here)
- If Smith-Mundt really applied to the entire government…
- What would you do if you had six (or less) months to address the problems of U.S. Public Diplomacy?
- The actual wording of Public Law 402, aka the Smith-Mundt Act
- In-sourcing the Tools of National Power for Success and Security
- Synchronizing Information: The Importance of New Media in Conflict
- Not Afraid to Talk: our adversaries aren’t, why are we?
- Setting a new course for U.S. Public Diplomacy?