voice of america

Voice of America’s Somali Service, which has been providing extensive coverage of the devastating drought in Africa, is now being offered to mobile phone users throughout Great Britain. VOA Director David Ensor says the new “call to listen” service is another example of the way technology can be harnessed to reach people who need information the most.

Congressional lawmakers are scrambling to prevent America's international media arm from going off-air in China, arguing that a plan to shift much of its reporting to the Internet won't do much good in a country notorious for its web censors.

Press freedom advocates and Ethiopian Americans are declaring a partial victory in their fight with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. government agency, over the censorship of the Voice of America radio programs to Ethiopia.

The BBG, which supervises U.S. government broadcasting to overseas listeners like Radio Martí and Voice of America, wants to position its broadcasters for the future. As we’ve reported, it has been involved in a strategic review of U.S. international broadcasting with the hope of “transforming” it.

The United States Informational and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, more commonly known at the Smith-Mundt Act, institutionalized the Voice of America and specified how the U.S. government could engage in public diplomacy.

International broadcasting remains an important element of soft power diplomacy. Nations want to tell their story to peoples around the world. Those goals remain the same even as the means of telling those stories has changed dramatically.

June 30, 2011

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