• 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,  Media,  Now Media,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2010 (Updated)

    On July 13, US Congressmen Mac Thornberry (TX-13) and Adam Smith (D-WA), both members of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2010” (H.R. 5729), a bipartisan bill to revise an outdated restriction that interferes with the United States’ diplomatic and military efforts. The Smith-Mundt Act, formally known as the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, was intended to improve and institutionalize information and exchange activities to counter Communist activities around the world that America’s ambassador to Russia described in 1946 as a “war of ideology… a war unto death.” Today, however, the Smith-Mundt Act is invoked not to enable engagement…

  • Media,  Now Media,  Social Media

    Engaging in a Now Media Continuum

    By Chris Dufour This post is based on Chris Dufour’s presentation at the MountainRunner Institute’s Now Media 6 July 2010 seminar. This seminar will be held again in 2010, so stay tuned. This past Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, I got the opportunity to speak as part of the MountainRunner Institute‘s “Now Media” seminar at the National Press Club. For the less sharp-eyed out there, I’ve been proud to call Matt Armstrong (MRi President and a highly AWESOME blogger) a friend for some time… even before he provided the first forum for Must. Be. AWESOME!!! in its proto-stage. A few months ago, Matt asked me to help him transform his blog,…

  • Defense Department,  Media,  Psychological Struggle

    Pincus article on military information activities is part literature review, part ignorance

    Once again, Walter Pincus of The Washington Post writes about military information activities. Once again, the esteemed Pincus exposes his lack of knowledge and ability to really investigate and qualitatively report on military information activities. Just as Pincus criticizes the military for expanding into areas it lacks expertise in, the same can be said about Pincus, an internationally influential reporter at a major media outlet. In a June 29, 2010, article titled “Fine Print: Contractors’ roles in psychological operations raise concerns,” Pincus links the recent debacle of the Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal with the use of contractors in information-related roles while unfairly mocking the Defense Department’s effort…

  • China,  Government Broadcasting,  Media,  Public Diplomacy

    CCTV: China’s soft power in the Middle East

    On May 27, 2010, The National published an article about China’s engagement strategy, carried out by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), toward Arab television viewers in the Middle East and North Africa. Many countries broadcast to the Middle East in Arabic, including France, Russia, and the U.S., but China is different: it broadcasts, from Beijing, to the region in Chinese with Arabic subtitles. Instead of focusing on news and current events in the Middle East, CCTV highlights Chinese culture and the arts. Simply, “…CCTV Arabic aims to tell the Arab world about China.“ In his article, Daniel Bardsley further describes China’s strategy, which involves voicing the views of the…

  • Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Social Media,  Wikileaks

    Wikileaks seeks US Military Email Addresses

    After crossing the line from self-purported “whistleblower” to propagandist with the release in April of a video packaged for “the targeted manipulation of public opinion,” Wikileaks is now hunting for US military email addresses in a May 7 tweet. Adrian Chen at Gawker wonders if this was preparation for the long anticipated release of another video Wikileaks may have of a bombing in Afghanistan. According to Chen, Julian Assange, Wikileak’s co-founder and public face, responded “not yet.” The intent of Assange is to affect change. The “real diplomacy and real politics,” Assange said, “is something that is derived from the flow of information itself through the population.” Assange certainly tries…

  • ICT,  Media,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Social Media

    Hugo Chavez vs. the Online Media Environment

    By Melanie Ciolek President Hugo Chavez has a long history of dominating the media environment in Venezuela, using radio and television to belittle his critics and project his political agenda to national and regional audiences. His administration has referred to the closures of privately held radio and television stations as efforts to “democratize” the media. Now facing the ultimate democratic media environment–an online space featuring millions of independent actors–he seems unsure how to compete.

  • Media

    Worthwhile quote on (lack of) independence of media

    In a April 13, 2010, NPR story about an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey, NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates reported at least one news outlet declined to interview (and thus implicitly promote) the book’s well-known and well-read author, Kitty Kelly, suggesting motives other than quality of the product: Kelley did do a two-part interview with Matt Lauer on Monday and this morning on the "Today Show." But David Drake, spokesman for her publisher, Crown Books, a division of Random House, says rumors that other media outlets have declined interviews are true. Drake won’t name names but reportedly, ABC is one of them. ABC’s parent company, Disney, is partnering with Winfrey in…

  • Media

    Own the news media and you are Big Brother

    This week, NPR broadcast an interesting story on The Villages, a burgeoning retirement community in Florida. What made it interesting was the developer of the project “owns just about everything.” This includes the local media. As NPR’s Robert Siegel explained: The local radio station, which of course plays oldies, its also piped by loudspeaker to the two downtowns – is owned by the developer. So is The Villages’ Daily Sun, a full-sized newspaper with multiple sections. It has a local reporting staff and runs AP stories about the rest of the world. The peril of a lack of competition in news media came out in an interview Siegel had with…