An innovative partnership between the leading private media group in the Middle East and top television writers and showrunners from the United States is taking a different approach: tackling the war of narratives. It might sound strange, or even frivolous, in the midst of an all-out war against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. But, in fact, it makes perfect sense, given the cultural, ideological nature of the larger battle against extremism.
The UK must embrace culture at a time when working together is “more necessary and more urgent than ever”, the BBC’s director-general has said, as he launched a UK-wide creative partnership. As he announced Culture UK with the arts councils of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Lord Tony Hall called for Britain to become the world’s most “culturally engaged and creative country, where everybody, wherever they come from, can take part”.
An Abu Dhabi-based Arabic TV channel launched a series of new Chinese entertainment and cultural programs for the first time in the Arabic language. The line-up, entitled USILK, broadcast different programs and series not only on China’s culture and entertainment, but also on China’s politics and new strategies under the Xi Jinping leadership. The move indicates China’s willingness to expand its media footholds and to better communicate China’s messages to the region.
Putin perfectly understood the power of the media that helped propel his famously unpopular predecessor Boris Yeltsin into power in 1996. So the first thing he did after assuming the presidency in 2000 was to force all the major TV channels to submit to his will. Oligarch owners were either co-opted, jailed or exiled, and by 2006 most major Russian media were either directly or indirectly under Putin’s administration’s control.
The success of Al Jazeera’s social media outreach should be particularly worrisome for those who value accurate and unbiased reporting, as its massive reach and influence can no longer be ignored. But for the government of Qatar, AJ+’s reach has given them precisely the platform they need to advance their agenda, particularly on issues where the geopolitical goals of Western governments and Qatar’s government conveniently overlap.
This function of the press in no way comports with Tillerson’s experience at ExxonMobil. [...] Oil is not an especially popular product, and its production generates manifold controversies, yet just about everybody needs oil, at least for now, so well-run corporations in the industry can be as durable as public utilities, no matter what consumers think. Some time ago, ExxonMobil executives concluded that they were better off avoiding journalists to the extent that it was possible, and putting out what little they had to say on their own Web site.
VOA began radio broadcasting in 1942, to combat Nazi propaganda. Per its charter, it is mandated to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” Since WWII, it has been the front-edge of America’s informational interface with citizens around the world, particularly those battling dictatorships and tyranny. [...] VOA is the largest public diplomacy program of the United States government and broadcasts in more than 40 languages.