America's Cold War information tools were key factors in the demise of communism. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and WORLDNET television transmitted our message of truth and freedom to the world, thwarting efforts by totalitarian regimes to control information. But with the opening of formerly closed societies come new challenges and opportunities. The White House, Congress, and federal agencies are searching for ways to reshape public diplomacy.
To discuss the changes that have taken place and to assess future directions, The Annenberg Washington Program in Communications Policy Studies of Northwestern University sponsored a two-part colloquium on U.S. Foreign Affairs in the New Information Age.
Among the topics: What is the outlook for government broadcasting in the increasingly cluttered, commercial international media marketplace? How can the new tools of public diplomacy help to influence the direction of democratic revolutions? Is there a collaborative role for American government broadcasting and American public television? Is the 50-year-old domestic dissemination ban on USIA products obsolete?
Annenberg Senior Fellow Alvin Snyder convened the colloquium and wrote the following report. Snyder, a former high-ranking TV network executive and government official, and colloquium participants analyzed how best to adapt public diplomacy to a changing global community.
Newton N. Minow
The Annenberg Washington Program