“Both Australia Network and Radio Australia represent a significant public investment in public diplomacy objectives,” he declared. “When you look at the expansion of international broadcasting as an arm of soft diplomacy, governments are using their public broadcasters to do this work...."

When the Chinese government spends vast amounts in Africa to set up communications infrastructure for dictators to flood the populace with their messages, public diplomacy has a new dimension. China is also offering this same region a propaganda-free news service, at a vastly cheaper cost than traditional Western news services. This is a sign of soft power and strategic influence are now going online.

The ABC's chief, Mark Scott, has risked scuttling the broadcaster's bid for Australia's $223 million overseas television service...Australia Network is broadcast in Asia and the Pacific region, targeting a middle-class audience in 44 countries as part of an effort to promote Australia.

''The teaching of Chinese language and culture is welcome in NSW schools but it should be available free from the influence of the Chinese Communist Party doctrine and censorship.'' China pays NSW schools more than $200,000 to promote its language and culture through the Confucius Institute, based at the Education Department's Ryde office.

The Australia Network is the Government's primary vehicle for public diplomacy: its means of engaging with foreign publics, of providing reliable news in information-starved regions, of communicating with Australians living and traveling overseas, and of projecting Australia's culture, ideals, values and expertise to the region.

July 4, 2011

It is understood Sky News proposed setting up a dedicated channel for China to run separately from the rest of the network as a way of expanding Australia's reach in the Asian powerhouse, where censorship limits foreign news broadcasts.... the Foreign Affairs Department has said it is keen to gain access for Australia's public diplomacy channel.

CPD research fellow Caitlin Byrne (2010-2012) has been published, with co-author Rebecca Hall, by the Clingendael Institute for a piece discussing Australia's international education programs as potential arenas for enhancing soft power.

Screenwest, Western Australia's screen funding and development agency and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) announced two cross-media projects. The two projects aim to encourage producers in the two territories to co-develop visual narrative concepts for emerging new media channels. These include interactive television, web and mobile devices.