• Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    U.S. International Broadcasting: An Untapped Resource For Domestic And Ethnic News Organizations

    For anyone interested in the Broadcasting Board of Governors and/or U.S. government broadcasting, I recommend reading this updated report-turned-chapter written by Shawn Powers: U.S. International Broadcasting: An Untapped Resource For Domestic And Ethnic News Organizations (180kb PDF, also available as a Google Doc). The news media landscape is rapidly changing in the wake of technological progress and the altered ways in which information is received and disseminated require adjustments in the contemporary media regulatory framework. Just as advances in science and health sectors require governments to adjust their laws accordingly, so do advances in information technology. The advent of the Internet, a global infrastructure able to disseminate information instantaneously from…

  • Events,  Government Broadcasting

    Event: Meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will meet on Friday, September 17, 2010, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The BBG will be considering BBG Governance Committee recommendations, the BBG’s research program and other business. The meeting is open – via webcast – to the public. The public may observe the open meeting via live and on demand streaming at www.bbg.gov.

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    Recalling History: Making the Case for U.S. Government Broadcasting

    As Americans, we are detached from our history. True, remaining anchored to the past can hold back progress, understanding what came before and thus the trajectory of past activities that shape today is helpful. As the saying goes, those who fail to grasp history are doomed to repeat it. Understanding the context of public diplomacy, the institutions, and methods is important. For too many, public diplomacy began in the 1980s when the beginning of recent memory. At a 2009 conference organized by Doug Wilson, now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, I sat on a “scene setting” panel with Harriet Fulbright, widow of the late Senator Fulbright, Len…

  • Government Broadcasting

    BBG Meeting

    On Friday, August 20, I participated in an off the record conversation with five of the new members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Joining me were Kristin Lord of CNAS and and Paul Foldi of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We met to discuss the status and future of U.S. Government broadcasting. While I cannot get into details, it was clear the Board is very interested in moving quickly to take advantage of clean start, a reset of sorts, for the Board and endeavor to make well-informed decisions to support smart, strategic requirements.

  • China,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    China hosts seminar for developing countries on guiding public opinion and building a national brand

    Last month, China hosted an event for Information Ministers from twenty developing countries titled “Actively Guiding Public Opinion and Building up Sound National Image.” According to Sierra Leone News: The workshop focused on the cooperation and development between the Chinese and foreign media and information department encompassing political, economic, cultural and social aspects. Participants raised grave concern about the negative media coverage given to developing countries despite efforts of these countries to match up with modern standards. The Secretary General of the Information office in China, Mr. Feng Xwang said the western media controls the voice of news report thereby failing to report on the social life of the people. …

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Recalling History: Advisory Commission tells Congress to Expand VOA

    On March 30, 1949, in its first semi-annual report by the US Advisory Commission on Information, the predecessor to today’s Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, recommended an “immediate and broad expansion of the world-wide information program being conducted by the State Department, including the activities of the Voice of America.” A realistic approach requires that we provide a budget better balanced between the three-pronged program of military, economic and information policy. A budget which contemplates $15,000,000,000 for military, $5,000,000,000 for economic and only $36,000,000 for information and educational services, does not provide an effective tool for cleaning out the Augean Stables of international confusion and misunderstanding. … It is in…

  • Defense Department,  Government Broadcasting,  Now Media,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    An opportunity to de-militarize public diplomacy

    Last week, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) convened the third annual Magharebia.com Writers Workshop. The workshop is a professional development course for new and established writers for AFRICOM’s Maghreb-centered news and information website, www.Magharebia.com. According to AFRICOM public affairs, the event “introduced new media tools and technologies while stressing the importance of sound journalistic principles for writing, blogging and podcasting.” The website www.Magharebia.com was started in 2005 by U.S. European Command (EUCOM) to “reach out to a younger audience in the North Africa region with news, sports, entertainment, and current affairs about the Maghreb in English, French and Arabic.” It is similar to EUCOM’s other sponsored news and information website, www.SETimes.com,…

  • Government Broadcasting

    Broadcasting board decides Voice of America can peruse WikiLeak documents

    Al Kamen reports that, Some new members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors were most upset by a column item last Wednesday noting that the IT and security folks at the International Broadcasting Bureau had instructed Voice of America employees to not read or e-mail any of the WikiLeaks material on their government computers (bit of a blow to original reporting). The issue was apparently that the infrastructure component of the BBG, the International Broadcasting Bureau, or IBB, was dictating the rules of the game to VOA journalists. Fortunately, the brand new Board members authorized the Director of the VOA to “proceed with reporting on the disclosure of classified documents…

  • China,  Government Broadcasting,  Media,  Public Diplomacy

    China aims to expand soft power, adds English-language news channel

    In 2000, China Central Television (CCTV) launched CCTV International, its 24-hour English-language news service aimed for the global audience. CCTV’s international broadcasting has since expanded to cover news -from a Chinese perspective- in French, Spanish, Russian, and since 2009, Arabic. On July 1, 2010, China launched another international English language news channel to expand its soft power. According to a July 2, 2010 article from The Guardian by Tania Branigan, Chinese authorities hope the launch of state news agency Xinhua‘s CNC World channel will help promote China’s image and perspectives. Similar to CCTV’s international objective, Xinhua’s president said CNC would “present an international vision with a China perspective.” Currently, CNC…

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    BBG nominees confirmed and Radio Free Asia bill passes House

    Briefly, June 30 was a good day for US international broadcasting. Alan Heil tells us the Senate confirmed the approved all eight nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) last night. They should be sworn in soon. Also, the bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia passed the House yesterday. The next step is President Obama’s signature to make it a law. See also: Senate Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer’s article on the report