• 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,…

  • Now Media,  Wikileaks

    Senate to define who is a journalist?

    Charlie Savage reports at The New York Times that Democratic Senators proposed legislation to legislatively define who is a “journalist.” Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) drafted an amendment, likely to the “Free Flow of Information Act of 2009” (S. 448), that would apply the “media shield” to protect sources only to “traditional news-gathering activities and not to web sites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents.

  • Africa,  Now Media,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  Social Media

    Al-Shabaab receiving support from U.S. citizens and others in the U.S.

    In a press conference today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department unsealed four separate indictments charging 14 individuals in Minnesota, California, and Alabama with terrorism violations, including providing money, personnel, and services to the terrorist group Al-Shabaab. An indictment in Minnesota charged 10 men for leaving the U.S. to join al-Shabaab, an organization with ties to al-Qaeda, as foreign fighters. In Minnesota alone, 19 have been charged with material support of al-Shabaab. Two women, naturalized U.S. citizens and residents of Minnesota, were charged with raising money to support al-Shabaab through door-to-door solicitations and teleconferences in the Somali communities in Minneapolis, Rochester, and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.…

  • Now Media,  Wikileaks

    Does New Media Really Matter when Arabs Tweet?

    The actions of the Wikileaks organization will spark a much needed discussion on the roles of so-called “old” media and “new” media in to the modern environment. Just days before the public disclosure of classified material by the website Wikileaks and three major newspaper hand-picked by Wikileaks, Professor Dennis Murphy asked “Does new media really matter?” The cause of the question is itself interesting:an op-ed by Rhami Khouri titled “When Arabs Tweet” in the most classic “old media” outlets there is, The New York Times. The Times is also one of the three papers chosen by Wikileaks to disseminate initial commentary and analysis on the “Afghan War Diary“, as Wikileaks…

  • Now Media,  Public Diplomacy,  Social Media

    Twitter’s impact on public diplomacy

    On July 16, 2010, The Huffington Post published an opinion piece authored by John Brown, former U.S. Foreign Service officer and currently Adjunct Professor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown University. In the op-ed titled "What’s important, what’s happening, and what’s public diplomacy," Brown discusses the limitation of social media as an intellectual or political tool. Instead of heavily focusing on using social media such as Twitter to engage with target audiences, public diplomacy practitioners should execute public diplomacy via person-to-person contact where they can speak freely beyond 140 characters. Brown says, "Much of what twitterers say is as significant as that Viagra ad aired on the corporate evening news. ‘Now’…

  • Now Media,  Public Diplomacy

    In the interest of informed debate on Public Diplomacy

    By Craig Hayden I am curious to hear the following statement, made by one of America’s preeminent critics of public diplomacy thinking, clarified a bit more: All too many academic theories about PD are incomprehensible, pompously-expressed “concepts” from persons — among them rightfully esteemed tenured professors whose intelligence is all too often joined with a tactless inability to handle the last three feet of person-to-person contact — who have never actually worked as diplomats in the field of “public diplomacy,” which they pontificate about, often too assuredly, from their ivory towers on comfortable campuses so distant from what some call the “real world.” The quote appeared in a recent article…

  • 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…

  • Now Media

    A (Digital) Revolution in Latin America

    By James Davis If Barack Obama’s campaign introduced American voters to the raw power of the web to win elections, the come-from-behind victory of Juan Manuel Santos as President of Colombia showed that e-democracy works even in places where democracy itself is fragile. Santos, a conservative-leaning Defense Minister under popular incumbent President Àlvaro Uribe, ultimately won election on June 20 in a 2-to-1 blowout, racking up 69 percent of the vote. But on the day 38 -ear-old Ravi Singh from Washington-based Electionmall.com arrived in Colombia, Santos’ campaign was clearly in trouble, with polls showing Bogotá mayor Antanas Mockus’ reformist Green Party within striking distance of victory in the first round…