• Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 introduced in the House

    Last week, Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced a bill to amend the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 to “authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences, and for other purposes.” The bill, H.R.5736 — Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 (Introduced in House – IH), removes the prohibition on public diplomacy material from being available to people within the United States and thus eliminates an artificial handicap to U.S. global engagement while creating domestic awareness of international affairs and oversight and accountability of the same. This bill also specifies Smith-Mundt only applies to the Department of State…

  • China,  Government Broadcasting,  ICT,  Public Diplomacy

    Another US Deficit – China and America – Public Diplomacy in the Age of the Internet

    The Senate Foreign Relations Committee released its report on the imbalance of public diplomacy activities between China and the United States. Entitled “Another U.S. Deficit – China and America – Public Diplomacy in the Age of the Internet,” this is the final version of the report I reviewed on 11 February. Commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the Ranking Member of the Committee, the report is a unique and necessary review of Chinese Government engagement in America. The report also highlights Chinese obstruction of reciprocity and U.S. Government failure to act, notably in the area of information freedom initiatives. The timing of this report is critical. It comes on the…

  • Public Diplomacy

    California plans to bid for 2020 World Expo

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in China on a weeklong trade mission through Asia, announced California is preparing to bid to host the 2020 World Expo. The plan, which is not due until late 2011, would propose using Moffett Field, a decommissioned (1994) air field on San Francisco Bay and is adjacent to Silicon Valley. “Shanghai has demonstrated that when you host the World Expo, the world comes to you, and I want the world to come to California. Our state is a leader in entertainment, agriculture, the environment, high-tech, green-tech and bio-tech, and we are ready to showcase our innovation to the world,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “As the hub of innovation,…

  • 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…

  • Congress,  Public Affairs,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Reforming Smith-Mundt: Making American Public Diplomacy Safe for Americans

    The impact of the "firewall" created by Smith-Mundt between domestic and foreign audiences is profound and often ignored. Ask a citizen of any other democracy what they think about this firewall and you're likely to get a blank, confused stare: Why -- and how -- would such a thing exist? No other country, except perhaps North Korea and China, prevents its own people from knowing what is said and done in their name.

  • Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt

    Smith-Mundt in CQ Weekly

    My article at Foreign Policy, Censoring the Voice of America (with additional information here), on the dated restrictions in the Smith-Mundt Act that prevents access to America’s international broadcasting elicited two reactions at ForeignPolicy.com.

  • Media,  Public Diplomacy

    Pursuing Human Rights through Public Diplomacy

    The latest issue of PD is available. PD is a bi-annual magazine that focuses on one particular subject area in each issue. The theme this time around is “Pursuing Human Rights Through Public Diplomacy“, a complex area not often explored by public diplomacy researchers. As the editors note, “Nonstate actors [in the area of human rights] do not necessarily consider themselves public diplomacy practitioners, and thus are not always aware of the public diplomacy power they wield.” A small selection of the articles in the current issue are: Human Rights: Beyond the Law by Jim Ife The Human Rights Situation in North Korea and Humanitarian Aid by Ven. Pomnyun Sunim…