July-August 2010: The View From CPD

Digital media constitute some of the most important tools of modern diplomacy and also have themselves become, collectively, a diplomatic issue. If the world‘s democracies are serious about enhancing freedom around the globe, they must champion the right to communicate as fully as technology allows. If, on the other hand, authoritarian states wish to continue to smother freedom, they need to restrict the ability to communicate.

Thus, the battle lines are drawn. Democracies must persist in their public diplomacy efforts that rely on digital media and encourage their proliferation. Publics throughout the world are increasingly making these media part of their lives and there is much to be gained by being seen to be on the public‘s side rather than viewed as supporting governments – even those of putative allies – that seek to block the spread of these media.

Among the new media technologies, mobile phones are, at least for now, the easiest to acquire and use. The connectivity they foster is redefining “community” and allowing public diplomacy efforts to reach a more comprehensive audience. As this month‘s PDiN Monitor underscores, these are among the reasons that digital freedom and public diplomacy have become inextricably linked.

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