Public Diplomacy Definition
Public diplomacy is a process undertaken to enable the achievement of a nation’s policy goals and objectives, enhance national security and advance national interests abroad. It aims at winning the support of the public in foreign countries to support the country that is selling its policies. In order to gain influence, public diplomacy must be carried out tactfully. It is crucial to listen critically and engage the target audience in to allow the practitioners shape their policies to suit the audience. This paper answers questions relating to public diplomacy.
Ivy Lee was a son of a minister and is known as the founding father of modern public relations. Mr. Lee founded public relations from train accidents. At that time, Lee worked with New York World, and showed his fellow reporters how a train had crashed in Pennsylvania railway. During this period, rail companies refused to admit the existence of any crashes. However, according to the journalist, the pattern from the crashes spoke for themselves. As a result, Lee exposed the story. Further, this translated to the birth of press release and subsequent identification of publicity professionals. The function played by this group during the early times was modifying information between the government and the public. For instance, in the early 1900s, the publicity agents drew lots of articles in support of the unpopular World War 1 (Sulivan, 2011).
Are Journalists Lazy?
The line between public relations and the role of pure journalism is becoming blurred. For instance, in some situations, journalists adopt an entire press release as a part of a story they are running. Sulivan (2011) noted that the strength of journalism is reducing while that of public relations is quickly increasing such that one can assume that they are stimulated. The increase is both in content and labour. Labour increase is supported by data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics that reveals that the number of people employed in the media is decreasing while those working in publicity are quickly increasing. Equally, it was noted that revenue for publicity firms and employees has been increasing while those in traditional media have had their incomes reduced. It is true to both companies and employees. Therefore, probably the numbers of those in pure journalism reduced and those in public relation increased, hence journalists cannot be classified as lazy (Sulivan, 2011).
However, it can also be argued that the dominance of public relation is increasing due to its purpose. Private and government institutions fit the need to distort, sort and avail information without public knowledge. As a result, journalism is dying while public relations are vibrant. The liveliness of public relations is likened to increased propaganda as well. Arthur W. Page Society (2014) holds a different school of thought that equates public relations to journalism. It argues that pubic relation is founded on the truth. As it may, journalists are not lazy but report truthful press releases anchored on ethical public relations.
De-Americanizing Soft Power Discourse
The global economy has tremendously changed in the past two decades. Economic liberalization has enabled the proliferation of economies outside the industrialized world. Advancement in such economies has been referred to as “The Rise of the Rest” (Berliner, 2010). Most of the rising countries have adopted a “soft power” approach that has been used by U.S. for decades. The approach has for long shaped U.S. foreign policy by attracting foreign nations on its side without employing coercion.
Many nations have resorted to using broadcasting to exert global influence. In the past, media in some of the countries that have currently resorted to international broadcasting was under strict state control. Qatar, for instance, launched Al Jazeera in 1996 that broadcasted news in English, Arabic, Turkish an in other Balkans’ languages. Qatar is a small nation, having only 2 million residents, of which only 250,000 are its citizens. The country has leveraged Al Jazeera to proliferate its geopolitical leadership in the global South. Its emergence as an established broadcaster has transformed the region’s journalistic culture. Moreover, the channel availed a platform for a broader conversation in international communication arena. Iran’s English language network has also emerged on a global platform. Unfortunately, it is viewed as a propaganda TV station reflecting Iranian government’s viewpoint. This perception might be harmful to the Iranian government as due to the negative taste of propaganda in various nations (Thussu, 2014).
Arguably, the increasing presence of Chinese television news in the global arena is another significant move that the country made to exert global influence. The channel broadcasts in English and employs an intensive and extensive program of external communication to popularize Chinese model of development outside its borders. CCTV is an example of Chinese channel that commands huge number of viewers outside China. Since China focused on operating outside its border, it has been able to alter its face across the globe. The image of the nation has changed from danger to benefactor and from the threat to opportunity. It is trying to shake off the label of a one-party state that curtails freedom of expression and human rights of its citizens. Its version of image transformation is consistent with the country’s rise in global power (Thussu, 2014).
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Some countries have resorted to the entertainment industry to sell their policies to foreigners and gain influence abroad. Bollywood, the renowned Indian Hindi Film Industry, is a prominent venture aimed at exposing Indian content overseas. The venture has enabled the country to become an attractive investment destination. The number of people that buy Bollywood films is higher than those who by Hollywood ones by one billion yearly. Rapid liberalization, privatization and deregulation of country’s media and cultural industries ensured that visibility of Indian films in the global arena increased tremendously (Thussu, 2014).
Successes and Failures of the Confucius Institutes
It is noted that Confucius Institutes are fast spreading to different parts of the world than institutes of culture from the West. The premise for this observation is that there is close network and relations maintained by the Confucius Institutes and China. In practice, a Chinese University is attached to a local Confucius Institute. The institutes also promote greater knowledge and innovation sharing. These institutes draw their power from teaching learning of languages and Mandarin. However, the abstract nature of storytelling reduces their impact when learners participate in foreign activities.
Confucius Institutes are unique since the institutes also promote Chinese political agenda. For instance, in Africa, it is seen as a win-win situation between Confucius Institutes and African learners. Nonetheless, the institutes often have few instructors, hence cannot fully meet the set objectives. In some institutes, guest teachers fulfil these gaps in instruction. Moreover, in most cases, learning is based on traditional Chinese culture rather than contemporary political structures. This is put forward since these institutes fail to attract funding under assumption of promoting communism acts especially in Western countries (USC Public Diplomacy, 2014).
Contrast to Goethe Institute
In comparison to Geothe Institute, as presented by Dr. Gabriele Landwehr, both institutes promote culture and language. Geothe Institute educates foreigners on the German language while Confucius institute promotes the Chinese language. The institutes are similar since they allow learners to expose themselves to a foreign language. This also extends to culture because it is promoted in its original and distinct form. This includes lifestyle, foods and technology through books, videos and magazines.
Nevertheless, Geothe Institutes are different to Confucius institute in the pace of their development. Geothe institutes exist as autonomous bodies while Confucius institutes are an appendage to a University in a foreign country from China. As a result, Confucius institutes are spreading faster than Geothe Institutes. In addition, Geothe Institutes have a spot in Western countries since it is from a liberal nation than Confucius institute that is attached to communism. Thus, people are wary of Confucius Institutes in their countries and are less receptive to them. The purpose of the institute also presents a major difference for the institutes. For example, China uses Confucius institute to promote both cultural and political agendas while Germany uses Goethe Institute for cultural promotion. Political mileage is not a core pillar for the institute (USC Public Diplomacy, 2014; Goethe Institute, 2014).
Difference between Propaganda and Public Diplomacy
Essentially, the intent of the practitioners of propaganda and public diplomacy might be the same. Eventually, the beneficiaries of both activities are intended to be those undertaking them or the entity they work for if they have one. Neither propaganda nor public diplomacy is philanthropic. When either of the activities is employed as a state instrument, it serves the interest of the country in different ways (Brown, 2008).
Essentially, propaganda employs repetitions and slogans to manipulate its audience into believing its messages. It is cause-oriented, source-based, and stuffed with emotion laden-content. In order to cultivate mass mind in service to the source of goals, it employs mass persuasion media (Snow, 2012). Propaganda claims that the nation it compliments can do no evil, and demonizes features of the outside world. It endeavours to simplify complex issues, as well as history (Brown, 2008). Propaganda, at its best, encompasses pro-social issues and deviate slightly from the truth. However, at its worst, propaganda plays stringently a pro-source role. The latter uses whatever means necessary to accomplish its goals (Snow, 2012).
Public diplomacy provides a factual and truthful exposition and clarification of a nation’s way of life and foreign policyto audiences in foreign countries. It inspires international understanding, listens to foreign countries and engages them in the dialogue. Public policy objectively presents national accomplishments abroad, including the arts (Brown, 2008).
Notably, both propaganda and public diplomacy can attain trustworthiness with their audiences. However, effective public diplomacy attains trustworthiness through careful demonstration of the fact and thoughtful argumentation. On the other hand, propaganda realizes reliability by fabrication and exaggeration. Since public diplomacy appeals to the intellect, the audience believe it for a long period. Conversely, propaganda is believed for shorter periods since it merely fuels atavistic excitements. Proper public diplomacy is honest as it assures the audiences of the credibility of its content and purpose network. On the contrary, propaganda is a dishonest engagement. It coerces the audiences into believing that its contents are true. However, it fails to reveal its true purpose (Brown, 2008).
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In a nutshell, public policy prioritizes human interaction to manipulation that is largely employed by propaganda. Consequently, the target audience in public policy is largely a proactive consumer. They receive information from various senders ranging from public affairs officers to nongovernmental organization’s heads. Public diplomacy allows proactive response and persuasion from recipients, hence a two-way exchange of ideas (Snow, 2012).
Differences Public Diplomacy and Lobbying
Lobbying aims at influencing policy maker or a public authority. Lobbyists usually strive to influence the policy making process. Nongovernmental organizations, diplomats, religious entities, academicians and local governments are among groups that can engage in lobbying (Baneth, 2014). In Israel, “Lobby” refers to a loose coalition of organizations and individuals that aggressively work to nature U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Of note, the lobbying teams do not necessarily operate under a unified movement with a central leadership. Moreover, similarity in their goals does not imply that individuals within the lobbies do not differ on particular issues (Mearsheimer & Walt, 2006).
Conversely, public diplomacy is undertaken to enable the achievement a nation’s policy goals and objectives, enhance national security and advance national interests abroad. Unlike lobbying, public diplomacy is coordinated centrally. For instance, America’s public diplomacy outreach is led by “the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs” (Department of State, 2014). Essentially, those who have advance diplomacy are referred to as diplomats.
In fact, diplomacy works by selling a nation’s policies to foreign countries. On the other hand, lobbying pressures a foreign country to have the country that the lobbyists work of interest. For instance, Israeli pursues two comprehensive strategies to promote America support for Israel. First, the lobby exerts momentous influence in Washington by putting pressure on the Congress, as well as the Executive Branch to offer support for Israel.
Essentially, U.S. public diplomacy allows proactive response and persuasion from recipients (Snow, 2012). Conversely, Israel Lobby endeavours to safeguard the image Israel. Therefore, it creates a positive picture of the Israel by repeating myths about the country. They endeavour to prevent any critical commentary about the country that might rise and paint the country in a bad light.
Substantially, lobbying plays a significant role in helping nations like Israel. Nonetheless, it cannot replace the need for diplomacy no matter how strong it might be. While public diplomacy always works to the advantage of the country it glorifies, lobbying might at times fail to reflect the nation’s interest. For instance, the ability of the lobby to influence U.S. to back an imperialist agenda has limited Israel’s ability seize opportunities such as making peace treaty with Syria. This limitation has seen the failure of the country move the Oslo accords to dull implementation. The latter would have saved the lives of Israelis and shrivelled the statuses of Palestinian extremists (Mearsheimer & Walt, 2006). Therefore, it is important to institute diplomacy that would always put the country’s interest upfront.
Successful Twitter Public Diplomacy
Yespen (2012) defines Successful Twitter public diplomacy as an active, two-way communication within a network of government and Twitter opinion leaders who politically focused. Success comes by carrying out profound listening and engagement of individuals. Essentially, Twitter like the printing press, television, or telephone can be used to communicate whatever the user desires. Although the network has policies that spell out certain rules and restrictions, a wide range of issues, from celebrity gossip to planning a revolution, can be discussed through the network.
The ability of Twitter to allow bi-directional communication makes it a suitable platform for public diplomacy (Harris, 2013). However, in order to be strategic, Twitter public diplomacy must concern itself with features of governance of United States, as well as of the host country. However, the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela failed to engage on issues that influenced the network. Purposefully, the Embassy does not undertake political discussions. The staff deletes every partisan comment posted on the Embassy’s Twitter account. Instead, the Embassy’s outreach efforts are focused on discussing cultural topics including sports and music. This policy constraint does not imply that the Embassy does not wish to influence the network. Rather, it endeavours to influence the network without listening to the public it engages. Essentially, listening would provide for them information that is essential in strategic policy formulation (Yespen, 2012).
Of all U.S. embassies, the country’s Embassy at Venezuela commands the third highest number of followers on Twitter. However, the huge following only refers to in-degree influence of the Embassy. There are two other aspects of influence including Retweet and Mention influence that are crucial in measuring successful engagement on Twitter. Retweet influence measure’s the user’s reposted tweets while Mention influence refers to the number of tweets containing the name of the user. Unfortunately, the Embassy fails to score in Retweet and Mention influence. The content it generated was not sufficient enough to elicit Retweets or discussion on the network (Yespen, 2012).
The embassy’s move to avoid crucial topics in the network explains its inability to engage in successful Twitter public diplomacy. Of note, if the Embassy were to engage in the topics of interest, it would not contravene embassy restrictions. Instead, it would gain more influence and successfully carry or public diplomacy on Twitter (Yespen, 2012).
Water is essential to human existence. However, due to mismanagement of water resources, failure to institute conservation programs and pollution, the resource has become increasingly unavailable. Water insecurity is increasingly becoming prominent in sub-Saharan Africa and Middle-East countries. If left unattended, there is a fear that water scarcity might cause a conflict in these regions. In order to avert such crisis and save lives, there is a need of instituting intervention programs. Apparently, water diplomacy by international actors can effectively provide a solution to this problem (CPD, 2014). Leight (2012) defines water diplomacy as an engagement that encompasses all that various international actors can undertake to support water-stressed areas.
Public diplomats representing certain nations have acknowledged the significance of water diplomacy. For instance, United States in 2012, projected that many countries that were important to their policies would, in the next ten years, face water challenges. The countries would risk instability that might result in state failure. Such instability and failures would heighten regional tensions and distract the affected countries from engaging United States on crucial U.S. policy objectives. These developments would put U.S. policy objectives and interests at risk. Therefore, the United States resolved that their active engagement on resolving water challenges would be beneficial to its policies.
Water diplomacy is beneficial to both the international actors and the recipients of the intervention programs. The diplomacy improves relations of the international actors with foreign publics. For instance, U.S. diplomats established that water diplomacy would improve the influence of U.S. in the nations of interest. In addition, their engagement in water diplomacy would forestall other potential actors from attaining the same influence at the expense of United States. The nation treats water as a tool for development as well as an avenue to sustaining U.S. national interests.
Although water diplomacy cannot alter the weather, regardless of the skills the diplomats apply, the interventions are beneficial regions experiencing water scarcity. If it is done properly, water diplomacy can save scores of lives and stabilize regions that risk losing accessibility to this essential resource. Currently, there are new-environment related technologies that are relatively affordable and can aid in water diplomacy. Water diplomacy involves employing advocacy programs, as well as international institutions, to create worldwide awareness of water issues. The education programs enlighten the public on the best water usage and sanitary practices. Some of the programs resort to acquisition of water through small scale-water purification projects such as desalination. Although such sources might not be much, they mean much to regions that would go without water (Seib, 2013).
Change in the Image of Arab Women US Cinema Over the Years
The role of Arab woman has retrogressed over the time in US cinema. The women at Arab at first existed to patronize or play a flattering role along the Arab male. In practice, Arab women rarely make to big shot screen and are isolated from production. If they come in nowadays, they play roles American woman are not willing to play. These include being sex objects in scenes. In other instances, they portrayed as voice mothers or daughters to terrorist partners or fathers. Arab women are presented as miserable, hopeless and unloved. Thus, it is evident that the Arab woman personality has diminished and have more degrading roles attached to her person. There is more stereotyping on the Arab woman than in past based on terrorism themes and American women joining elite (Picherit-Duthler & Yunis, 2011).
Comparison of Roles of Arab and American Women in Arab Cinema
I hold the view that Arab cinema represents Arab women as submissive compared to American women. The Arab cinema presents Arab women to be dependent on existing social structures especially compared to the American woman. The Arab woman cannot make choices of her own including basic decisions such as education and marriage. On the other hand, the American women are presented as dependent, progressive and somehow reckless. She is open to enjoy various openings in the society. This is unlike Arab women who are confined to a more private life. The movies allow American women to have positions of power and interact socially and intimately with Arab men. This is a complete contrast for Arab women. Plum career positions and political offices are few while interaction with foreign men is limited or victimized. The cinema is used to promote the Arab woman as conservative and America woman as radical. Thus, Arab cinema presents a dull face for an Arab woman.
Should any of the Arab Countries Being Use its Cinema for Public Diplomacy
Ideally, an Arab country should use its cinema for public diplomacy. It is for a reason that cinema products are global products that shape how people perceive a particular culture or society. The views expressed in most of the cinema hold as the particular way of life promoted in those societies. Thus, people build ideas, perceptions and prejudices based on what they see. The Arab countries should promote movies that give equal opportunities for both men and women. Equally, the cinema can be used to demystify terrorism that is closely related to the Arab culture. This kind of public diplomacy will open up the world including script writers in the American industry that are stereotyping Arab characters in foreign movies (Robison, 2005).
Detail Definition of Public Diplomacy
Public diplomacy is an endeavour that exerts influence on individuals or entities across the globe come to know and appreciate one another. Essentially, public diplomacy regards the essential human connection as being central to all human rights. Public diplomacy avails a platform on which to build bridges founded on collective experiences between individuals, nations, organizations and institutions. Diverse values including equality, inclusiveness, diversity, pluralism, and freedom of expressing are among the values that different entities can share on such platforms.
In most cases, public diplomacy employs various tools including media diplomacy, internal broadcasting, public information, cultural and education and cultural programs, as well as political action to influence foreign target audiences. The wider international public forms the major audience of public policy. Its focus is much different from traditional diplomacy that emphasizes on government to government interaction. Public policy has become of great value in numerous nations who wish to sell their agenda abroad. With increased completion in the global markets, many countries are employing public diplomacy to outcompete others rivals in order to gain more clout in foreign countries.
Unlike other forms of engagement, public policy encompasses a two-way communication process. It mainly entails understanding of the major audiences and engaging them in order to shape policies to suit them. Public diplomacy is just more than delivering messages, although several practitioners focus on the latter. Dialogue in public diplomacy enables practitioners to understand the target audience and persuade them to accept the policies that the sender is advocating.
Public diplomacy often has a lasting influence among its target audience. The creation of understanding through sharing of facts about the country’s policies builds trust between the country in question and its audience. The trust is established by the virtue that the country is able to match the expectations of its audience. Although public diplomacy is based on facts, the endeavour is normally skewed towards painting the country a good image. It forms a well calculated campaign that ignores the shortcomings of the nation and focuses on its positive advancements. Nevertheless, this is different from the propaganda that presents myths about the country in question in order to attain support.
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