Public Diplomacy and Global Communication 2014b

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Is the involvement of the celebrity’s diplomacy in solving conflicts real or just for show?

There has been a recent trend of celebrities being involved in politics from making comments that trend worldwide to actually standing for a political position. However, is there popularity being used to resolve conflict or is that just how it seems to us as a result of what the media is showing us. Some worldwide celebrities such as Bradd Pitt and Angelina Jolie appear to be using their fame and the money form the celebrity status to set up funds and donate to charity. This would suggest therefore that the celebrity involvement is creating peace and aiding improvement in the conditions in conflicting states. However, is this money being donated by them at being received at a price for politics? Is Brad Pitt paying for political influence? He is for example known as an opponent of California’s proposition 8 which was a organisation against same sex marriage. This would make it seem that Celebrities cannot really just donate without actually being involved in the politics. Celebrities have also made controversial decisions which could be seen as slightly risky. For example famous Actor Arnold Schwarzenenger[1] now the governor of California signed legislation to end the states investment in Sudan to pressure the nation into stopping the genocidal violence in its Darfur Region in 2006. This move in itself shows that celebrity/politicians make decisions which might not necessarily be seen as correct by everyone.

Oprah Winfrey is also known for her support of Barack Obama in his campaign in 2008 and continuous to provide this support. This however makes you question is it fair that celebrities are involved in politics which some would argue they have little knowledge about. They are simply using their fame and personality to influence politics.

[2]Here is an image showing Talkshow Host Oprah Winfrey standing behind Barack Obama and giving him support in the election. Her role is questionable.

celebrity

This example with Oprah shows that celebrities are often involved in politics by supporting a certain politician or a political party. They usually have more respect from the audience than the politicians they support. This is unfair on those politicians who are unable to get celebrity support since even though they may have suitable ways to resolve conflicts, the fact that they do not have celebrity support puts them in a weak position. [3]

This leads you to the question of is it right that this glamour is being added to the elections. Is this taking away the essence of seriousness that politics and the issues that are supposed to be dealt with in politics.

It would therefore seem that the involvement in celebrities in politics is aiding conflict rather than actually preventing it. However, there is no way to really prevent the involvement of celebrities in politics given their high status and the popularity and possibly power they exercise over people. We look up to these people for one reason or another therefore in recognition of this they will continue to be involved.

[1] When celebrities get involved (The Washington Post) available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/celebrities-in-politics/2012/04/26/gIQAZGiAjT_gallery.html

[2] Image at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cqcu3bpX8HU/TXPJAjw2XpI/AAAAAAAAB9c/7EctC-N1b0U/s1600/oprah_winfrey_obama.jpg last visited 20/03/2015.

[3]

What was the Impact of the Social Media FB & Twitter on Arab Spring?

What was the impact of the social media FB & Twitter on Arab Spring?

By Kamal Konda

The Arab spring was a revolutionary number of protests, some violent some peaceful which took place across various Arab countries. There was protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan.The cause of the revolution is said to be the dissatisfaction of citizens with the local governments of the country. Some of the protests were seen to have positive impact, for example resulting in change of government whilst others not so successful, with violent responses by government authorities being received. There has been many claims that this upheaval in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring was highly impacted by the social media such as Facebook and Twitter. [1] The events that took part which are now known as the Arab Spring has created a debate about what the role of social media was during these events.

Here is an image of the type of events that took place during the Arab Spring. As you can see there was masses of people involved. The picture of the little boy praying shows that there was a feeling of hope that comes across from the people involved in these revolutionary protests. [2]

arabspring

The question arises whether social media sparked the Arab Springs. Some people believe that social media allowed the younger generations to discuss new ideas and gave them that platform where something can be planned in order to put their ideas across.  It is accepted that many activists used social media as a platform to gain support for the events that took place. Facebook, in particular provided information to those that were involved in the Arab Springs which the governments of the countries where the revolutions were taking place could not have control over. The majority of the countries where these protests did take place are known for the high level of control they exercise over their countries and the citizens of it and therefore social media was an aspect that was much out of the control of those running countries. It therefore allowed for events such as protests and demonstrations to be planned without much interference of authorities. [3]

Social Media definitely helped the message of the protests spread much quicker, therefore allowing more people to be involved in the protests and the message that was being delivered. Young people are known for their increased use of social media, therefore it arguably gave them an upper hand against governments who use Facebook much less. This is arguable easy to see given that the governments in countries such as Facebook did a lot to try and block access to social Media such as Facebook. This led on to protests with slogans on why Facebook should not be banned.

The above would suggest that social media had a significant impact on the Arab Springs. However, others have argued that the events during the Arab Spring was fuelled and spread as a result of the dissent of the people and whether there was social media available or not would not have had such a big impact on how those events unfolded and the widespread nature of them.

However, if we look at government action in most countries it would suggest media did have a big impact and was actually seen as a threat by most governments. For example in Libya, the Libyan government tried to influence the people by playing patriotic songs on the radio. This would suggest that the government was aware of how the public was being influenced.[4]

There is also the idea that social media was actually also used by the governments whom those protests were aimed against. Without admitting it, it was used tactically be officials to keep themselves in the picture of what was going on.

Overall social media definitely had a massive impact on the Arab Spring, from the initial knowledge that those involved in the change protests got from social media, to being used as a tool for planning as well as something that kept all those involved up to date with the events that were taking place.

[1] http://journalistsresource.org/studies/international/global-tech/research-arab-spring-internet-key-studies last accessed 20/03/2015

[2] Image at https://pdgc2014b.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/955a0-arabspring.jpg last visited 21/03/2015.

[3] Lever,R. Arab Spring: Did social media really spark revolutions? (2013) Washington.

[4] http://www.bing.com/search?q=arab+springs&src=IE-TopResult&FORM=IETR02&pc=WCUG&conversationid= last visited 21/03/2015.

The Canadian PDP

THE CANADIAN (PDP):

In order to promote the unity, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs had initiated in a year 1998 an ambitious public diplomacy programme which aimed overall to illustrate the international domain to popularizing the domestic unity. The DPD has been basically formed to construct the national identity and attaches citizens to Canada, reveals a unified Canada, abroad, in return it expected to boost the national public debate about the unity. The programme is really an innovative approach. Originally, the duration time of the programme was two years, any potential extension or a permanent funding depended on the outcome results of the evaluation process. The following question will be gradually discussed in this blog context; to what extent did the programme successfully fulfilled its initial goals. It was necessary to look at some accompanied features and expose the ultimate findings, that have been connoted in a descriptive evaluation report which was released by the Canadian Foreign Affairs FAC ..

I had the first contact with the Canadian public diplomacy strategy when I was researching and working on an essay about the new public diplomacy, where I had the opportunity to come across this book: Branding Canada by Evan H. Potter published in 2009. It shows how Canada projects its soft power through public diplomacy. it was fascinating the notion of designing  a programme of public diplomacy using foreign citizen, but in facts essential target is the promotion of Canadian’s unity. As it is known, there is a clash of culture between the French and English districts with serious attempts from the French nation to secede. While I was reading the PDP evaluation report and perceived its purpose, I started to think about the Canadian PDP aims to maintain the unity, despite the cultural differences. While my mother land Sudan had missed a golden opportunity to conserve the unity, when the warring parties signed in 2005 a comprehensive peace agreement, where politicians and peace negotiators from the Government of Sudan GoS and the rebel movement SPLA/M agreed upon many issues such as power sharing, an interim period of six years which should culminate with a internationally monitored referendum for southern region only, and secession. During the interim period a joined government so called “Government of National Union” should work towards making the unity attractive for the Southerners and persuading them to vote for united Sudan. The project of unity failed, because the Government of the National Union was not working efficiently and sufficiently to make the unity attractive. Far more culture and religious differences encouraged the option of secession. Consequently, Southern Sudan breaks away from the mother land Sudan in July 2007. Back to the Canadian PDP assessment: the evaluation led by the foreign affairs ensured that the programme has not changed, although new sub-objectives have been added in, and it started to prevail in improving, social cohesion and increasing the belonging sentiment which in return helps to promote the objective of unity. The PDP provided a funding for the Canadian’s missions to overseas encouraging diplomats to reflect efficiently Canadian’s culture and values which would promote the country image. The PDP has established a framework for the missions in a different geographical area and the funding provided must at least be used in one of these issues, values, culture and interests, promotion of democracy and good governance, promotion of La Francophonia and creating of dialogue in international policy issues.

PDP used the funding provided by foreign affairs and the national stakeholder to target in abroad specific media and civil institutions those who criticise the Canadian’s politics. Working in partnership and leverage of resources in abroad is an essential part of the programme. Canadian films have also played role to promote the image of the country in the posts a report to the evaluation of PDP shows the films have fulfilled the aim of reflecting the cultural and values broadly in some countries. The evaluation of the programme has also talked about evidence that there was a great achievement of positive influencing in domestic policy such as education, immigration and federalism.

The PDP is getting to fulfil its initial objectives through using the international arena in branding the image of Canada worldwide which will have good impact on promoting the Canadian’s unity.

Reference:

  1. Book

Title     :        Branding Canada:

Author:         Evan Potter

Publisher:     McGill Queens University Press

Publication: 2009 Montreal

  1. Web site of:

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

Evaluation of Public Diplomacy Programme of the Foreign Affairs Canada July 2005

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The role of international media on the war against terrorism

The role of international media on the war against terrorism

The September 11th attack and the aftermath, which became known as the war against terrorism became one of the most controversial issues around the world. There was a mix of emotions and reactions to that events occurred, the international media had a significant role in the war against terrorism. In what some people would call positive light, the international media helped people to understand the events. The international media provided differing perspectives and understandings of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. However, on more negative outlook of role of international media on the war against terrorism. Some people believe that media was used as a form of the propaganda. The US retaliation of 9/11 arguably used the media to gain supporters in what became known as war against terrorism. On the other side, it seemed that Bin Laden was also using the media and propaganda to spread Algahida and Taliban messages. During the war against terrorism, violent images and reports were shown to the world. The supporters that government would get on board using the media would help support transition of legislation in war against the terror. The violent images arguably created fear in the people meaning that there was more support for the governments leading the war. This was to influence the view of the public. There was also the debate what censorship was being used. Some American reporters have in the past admitted to being influenced by patriotic fever and this impacting that was shown by media. There has been much criticism, particularly in how the government has used media and how politicians have purposefully misled the public in order to achieve their objectives. It has been proven that there have been many factual inaccuracies, as well as concentration on most violent aspects of the world where the war against terror was happening for instance in Iraq. There has been what some call media manipulation in that government officials have used media to minimise the coverage of some prominent issues. In an article by www.globlalissues.org it was stated in relation of the role of the international media in the war against terrorism that “media reporting appears comparatively lacking in depth, historical context, investigative analysis on the causes that fuel such outrageous militant extremism and terrorism” extremism allowed to come across in the messages provided for by the media. Overall it seemed extremist element of the media was being used to counter what was a war against extremism.

Effects of 24/7 television coverage on public diplomacy

Effects of 24/7 television coverage on public diplomacy

The effects of television coverage of political issues are having an influence in public policies and public communication. Whether those effects are positive varies on whose perspective you are looking at the issue from. BBC news coverage an Al-Jazeera are recognised worldwide and watched by millions covering all types of significant global events and allowing the options of so many individuals to be shared. Therefore, this in itself shows one effect of television coverage on public diplomacy, it has created a platform for effective communication. Communication is essential for diplomacy especially in today’s globalised world. Television has allowed for communication to transpire boarders. It has allowed for political leaders to reach ordinary day citizens and allow to the citizens to understand their representatives more clearly. Some have agreed that the 24/7 television coverage on global world issues has meant that there is more accountability and individuals taking responsibility. Political affairs are now much more in the public eye because of television coverage which has in turn meant that politicians also are using television and media to justify decisions or continuous issues. Another positive of 24/7 television coverage on public diplomacy is that it allows for open debate. Debate is essential in democratic society and allows for freedom to express opinion and thought. Politicians can present the most continuous issues to everyone and allow for input to come from all different levels. With the decision on war on terrorism, there was a constant coverage of the event taking place.
However, while as discussed above there are positive aspects of the 24/7 television coverage on public diplomacy there is also negative effects. This why it has become a debatable issue. To begin with there is many who believe that the television coverage has not led to accountability and transparency because most media and programmes are publicly run/funded or highly influenced by these political leaders which they discuss. It is difficult to know what content of coverage you see on television is real and what aspect has been swayed or influenced. There have many that claimed that the media only allows the public to see one side of the story, thereby minimising the potential for public outrage. The other negative effect of 24/7 television coverage new issues/events is that some believe that by watching coverage of types of events, some very tragic has meant that the public are becoming more immune to the emotional aspect to the issue being covered.
The effects of 24/7 coverage of word event on public policy will remain controversial and many will continue to hold the view that it is not unbiased.

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