Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has done something remarkable: issued an honest appraisal of America’s public diplomacy broadcasting. That the report has found U.S. efforts flawed is no surprise, but the willingness of Senator Lugar to publicly state this is welcome relief after so many government efforts to paint a ridiculously optimistic picture of U.S. public diplomacy achievements.
I have to admit I did not expect to be writing what could be deemed a defense of Al-Hurra -- the U.S.-sponsored Arabic language television station beamed across the Arab world. Al-Hurra (which means "the free one" in Arabic) has come under scrutiny over the past few years for its potential impact on U.S. public diplomacy objectives.
As the new Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, James K. Glassman is the U.S. government's number one broadcaster. An accomplished journalist, Mr. Glassman oversees all U.S. government non-military international broadcast channels. The BBG Chairman provided his unvarnished observations to Worldcasting this week.
The "New Alhurra" is on a fast track. In just over half a year, two of its embattled top leaders either slipped off the track or were pushed.
Larry Register is the latest news chief to exit the American government's Arabic satellite channel. The embattled former CNN newsman came in to lead Alhurra only last November.