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WASHINGTON --- If you think China and Iran are where the fight for Internet freedom are centered, you may want to reconsider.

According to Bob Boorstin, Google’s Director of Corporate and Policy Communications, the crucial battles today are elsewhere.

“India is number one,” he said, when I asked which country was at the top of his list. Another is Russia, where he said the problem is the corrupt private individuals who may soon hold the Internet for ransom.

"You may soon be paying large fees to mysterious figures,” he predicted, for Internet access there.

WASHINGTON --- Voice of America rolled out a series of new programs at a briefing here this morning, highlighting “OMG!”, a new youth-oriented program aimed at China, where, according to its host, it is sometimes called “OMG: Oh My Lady Gaga.”

WASHINGTON --- Voice of America and other American international broadcasters now reach 187 million people every week, an increase of 22 million from 2010 and an all-time record number of listeners and viewers, according to data released yesterday.

WASHINGTON – U.S. embassies in Africa have created new models for public diplomacy, models which are already producing significant advances. That was the word at a conference here last week from Bruce Wharton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy for the Bureau of African Affairs. Wharton, who was appointed last year, described the “Kampala model” of public diplomacy, named for the perhaps unique structure in the American embassy in Uganda.

WASHINGTON – Use of the Internet and social networks was a significant factor in Egypt during the past month, even when the Egyptian government tried to block online access, according to a survey of Cairo and Alexandria residents released this morning by the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors.

WASHINGTON -- From events of the past three weeks a number of lessons can be drawn, some old and some new:

First, the phrase "the Arab street" has been redefined by Tahrir Square. We don’t need acute listening agents or polling to see what the Arab world wants.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors is considering asking commercial broadcasters to donate their news programming to Voice of America and other international broadcasters.

That was the word from Dana Perino, a new member of the BBG board.

"Everyone agrees we should look into this," she said. "How do we repurpose things that we could acquire?"

WASHINGTON -- Last month, NBC announced it had bought the Voice of America, as we noted at the time. NBC planned to use the name for a weekly musical series that will premiere on the network in a few months to compete with "American Idol."


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