Tuesday, November 22nd 2011
The date will always stick in my mind for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who made perhaps the strongest impact on America's image of any president in the 20th Century. Council Member Leonard Baldyga has found on the Web the U.S. Information Agency's film Years of Lightening/Day of Drums, which the Congress excepted from the Smith-Mundt Act provisions for viewing in the United States. Always worth a look, and especially on this day.
Monday, October 3rd 2011
An old story has been repeating itself recently in Washington. Once again, an element of U.S. international broadcasting has been criticized by politicians with a narrow view of its mission. Once again, by implication, the criticism brought the independence of American overseas broadcast operations into question. And, once again, came a firm and timely restatement of why those operations do what they do.
This time around, as reported in CQ Weekly in September, the criticism targeted Alhurra, the U.S.-sponsored Arab language television channel. According to the report, Alhurra drew the ire of some members of Congress “for broadcasting interviews with the leaders of Hezbollah and Hamas — groups the United States has branded as terrorist organizations.” It’s not clear what the interviews conveyed. But that’s not really the point here. Nor does it much matter when the interviews were aired or even what one thinks of Alhurra itself.
Monday, August 15th 2011
August is a time for reflection. International broadcasting, among many U.S. funded national security institutions, is immersed in questions this summer about its mission, its reach and its cost effectiveness. Our pioneer publicly-funded overseas network, the Voice of America, is just a few months shy of its 70th anniversary. What is its role and impact in the ever widening galaxy of U.S. government funded overseas broadcast entities?
Saturday, July 30th 2011
That authoritarian presidents are suppressing news and information in Latin America is no surprise. But add the factors of international criminal syndicates and the Government of China, and the effect is a threat to press freedom in the Hemisphere. That was the takeaway from a panel of experts on July 28 at the National Press Club. Advancing freedom of expression is a frequent task for public diplomacy and international broadcasting, and the job appears far from done.
Friday, July 22nd 2011
We just posted Council Member Alan Heil's "LANDSCAPE OF INTERNATIONAL BROADCASTING: VOA and the BBC at a Crossroads", which also appears in the current edition of Public Diplomacy Magazine (USC Annenberg School.) In six pages, the former VOA deputy director gives a concise, well-documented snapshot of two international broadcasters on the cusp of big change.