Voice of America

U.S Soft Power From the First Amendment

David Ensor, former director of Voice of America, has published a new article. His piece, "Exporting the First Amendment: Strengthening U.S. Soft Power Through Journalism," was published in December 2015 by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. This article touches on recent proposals by Congress to transform VOA from an objective news source into a “full-throated advocate for American policy." Ensor argues that by keeping true to VOA's first broadcast, which said, "The news may be good for us. The news may be bad. But we will tell you the truth," VOA can export democratic ideals of free speech. Ensor contrasts VOA’s objective news model with Qatar's Al Jazeera, Russia's RT, and China's CCTV who "weaponize information" by broadcasting state-sponsored journalism. Ensor concludes that U.S. public diplomacy and soft power are strengthened when the Voice of America is allowed to practice the free speech ideals guaranteed by the First Amendment. The article is one of caution, warning those who want to change the nature of VOA’s broadcasting. 

The full article is available here.

Photo by Wikipedia/ CC by-SA 2.0


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