Saturday, April 23, 2011

News Bits

What's new in the world of public diplomacy? I'm so glad you asked!

Hasbara 2.0

Evidently the Israeli consulate in LA is embracing new technology by phasing in tablets (this kind, not this kind) to replace heavy and cumbersome print media. To jump start the process, the consulate is giving away a special Israeli Edition custom Kindle.

Maybe they should try gargling...

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argues that the VOA's voice is drowned out in a competitive international media environment as news agencies from China, Russia and the Middle East are expanding. The Wall Street Journal notes, "If public diplomacy helps determine which countries are on the way up and which are on the way down, U.S. actions speak louder than the broadcasts themselves." Forget gargling; how about funding?

Peking news update

Andy Yee reports on the same story from a different angle, highlighting the Chinese media expansion as part of a targeted government effort to increase soft power. However, as Yee notes, suspicions surround the effort--particularly in light of continual problems related to credibility and unpopular domestic policies.

Atomic/ping pong

The U.S. and China emphasize the importance of sports exchanges and ping pong diplomacy, and the U.S. extends support to Japan in the wake of its earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Friends with benefits

While soft power and public diplomacy are complicated pursuits, aid is one important component of the equation. Although the bank head of P.S. Suryanarayana's article trumpets that France has provided more assistance than the United States to Japan in addressing its nuclear crisis, the article fails to persuade that this translate into a significant public diplomacy win.

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