Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RT: Just for the record...

It's been a while since my last post. What was I up to? Public diplomacy, of course. Presentations, papers, and now, the capstone... And Russian PD certainly makes up a large part of the work on this list. Having closely examined all the major PD-related Russian foreign policy documents, I thought I'd take a short break to share some thoughts on the latest RT "masterpiece" that I came across yesterday.

Well, nothing new. Seemingly, just another Russia Today rant. (Just to give them credit, however, I should say that I'm appalled that there are organizations, such as the one featured later in the story, that are still operating in America against foreign broadcasters - free speech, essentially - comparing them with Goebbels. But then, it's a different story I might get back to after April is over.)

What caught my attention in this video was first the implication and then the outright statement by the reporter that while Americans are freaking out about the "increasing prominence of foreign broadcasters" around the world as well as in the U.S., the American objective in regards to international broadcasting is "to influence, rather than inform." The implication here, of course, is that others - such as RT itself - are in the pure information business and have absolutely no intention to influence their audiences (something the network is still struggling to "prove", 6 years after its establishment).

I would suggest the reporter does some reading. Shouldn't take long - it's just a couple of paragraphs:

Strengthening of international position of Russia and solution of the tasks related to the establishment of equal mutually beneficial partnerships with all countries, successful promotion of our foreign economic interests and provision of political, economic, information and cultural influence abroad require the use of all available financial and economic tools of the state and provision of adequate resources for the Russian Federation's foreign policy.
An important part of the foreign policy activities of the Russian Federation is communicating to the broad world public full and accurate information about its stand on the main international problems, foreign policy initiatives and actions by the Russian Federation, its domestic social and economic development processes and plans, as well as on the accomplishments of Russian culture and science.
In public diplomacy, Russia will seek its objective perception in the world, develop its own effective means of information influence on public opinion abroad, strengthen the role of the Russian mass media in the international information environment providing them with essential state support, as well as actively participate in international information cooperation, and take necessary measures to repel information threats to its sovereignty and security.

This is from the "Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation", as updated and approved in 2008.

I'm in no way suggesting that she is wrong - the U.S. is trying to influence foreign publics. But then, that's the very point of international broadcasting, especially when it comes to its "public diplomacy role". I can even argue that the ultimate objective of any media is to influence (and influence should not necessarily be malignant, should it?). If it weren't the case, the reporter herself would most probably be out of work at the moment.

And as a side note, I wanted to share another video from last week. Again, not untrue, yet framed in a way and served with such a tone that the only word to describe it is indeed propaganda (in the "American sense" of the word).

But then it's RT. So nothing surprising, I guess...


No comments:

Post a Comment