• China,  Cultural Diplomacy,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    China and American Public Diplomacy: Another US Deficit

    Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) will publish another major report on public diplomacy shortly. Written by Paul Foldi, senior professional staff on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this report focuses on Chinese public diplomacy with the inevitable comparison to U.S. efforts. I was given a sneak peak at the report. It comes at a time when tough talk in Congress on the State Department’s budget could benefit from such an analysis of a country that is both a major competitor and partner across all aspects of national power and daily life. This report is another in-depth investigation and commentary on a critical aspect of U.S. global engagement. It focuses on the…

  • Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    VOA on The Daily Show (Updated)

    Briefly, opening with “I got a hold of your show on the web and I was so impressed with the heart of it,” Jon Stewart began his interview with Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi, two U.S. Government employees – and U.S. public diplomats – behind “Parazit”, a Voice of America program aimed at Iran. The interview, embedded below, followed a brief clip from the show. Under current law, amended from its original form, if The Daily Show had requested permission from the U.S. Government to broadcast the clip it would have been denied. More on that below. Two comments. First, kudos to VOA’s Persian News Network’s “Parazit” for the recognition.…

  • Government Broadcasting

    BBG Chairman: customer-oriented, platform-neutral

    This week, Walter Isaacson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, gave some remarks (PDF, 41kb) at the celebration of sixty years of Radio Free Europe. Walter, with his long history in the media business and the author of biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Einstein. Walter acknowledged the newly appointed Board’s launch of a year-long comprehensive review to remake the BBG into “a great virtual global news service” that would provide reliable reporting across mediums and with social media input from the global audience. This is similar to the trend of major media to incorporate readers and viewers into news development and dissemination. The goal, Walter said, is to become…

  • Events

    Event: exploring an independent public diplomacy / strategic communication organization

    The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is convening a non-partisan public diplomacy initiative next week, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William Perry. The initiative will bring together a broad coalition of high-level experts, practitioners, including members from the corporate and foundation sectors, the think-tank and academic communities, and the Congress, to develop a business plan for the new organization to provide sustained, innovative, and high quality private sector support for US public diplomacy; and identify public and private sources of funding. The envisioned entity will be non-partisan and transcend Administrations. It will facilitate better coordination and implementation between the government and…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    Australian report on international broadcasting and its contribution to public diplomacy

    Despite the dozens of reports on U.S. public diplomacy, it is actually quite rare to see an in-depth study on public diplomacy, particularly in the areas of government broadcasting. The “too many” reports have often focused on specific cogs without regard to their place in the greater bureaucratic machine that spans the whole of whatever government the agency happens to be in. Even more rare is an in-depth public analysis of the public diplomacy of another country by another country. This week, an Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, published such a report. This report, International broadcasting and its contribution to public diplomacy by Annmaree O’Keeffe and Alex Oliver, is…

  • 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.

  • 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…

  • 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…