Alex Constantine - December 30, 2007
More authoritarian moonshine from the gold-plated Heritage still:
Heritage Foundation Analyzes Restriction on Public Diplomacy
By AC Writer
Published Dec 05, 2007
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., has published a new backgrounder by Dr. Juliana G. Pilon [SEE BIO BELOW]. The backgrounder, titled "Obsolete Restrictions on Public Diplomacy Hurt U.S. Outreach and Strategy," is available on The Heritage Foundation's web site.
According to Dr. Pilon, Section 501 of the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, which prohibits the release of information designed for other nations within the United States, hinders the ability of the United States in its effort to spread messages around the world. The restriction is designed to prevent the spread of propaganda in America, although the backgrounder says that the restriction is now hard to enforce as a result of advances in technology. The result, Heritage says, is an ineffective diplomatic effort by the United States.
In the memo, Dr. Pilon writes that Section 501 contributes to a misunderstanding on the part of the American public about the efforts the U.S. government is undertaking in the international arena. Heritage says that the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty have Internet sites that allow American citizens to conduct research, but information on neither is disseminated within the United States. Worst of all, the backgrounder reports, is that Section 501 is hindering America's global war on terrorism by restricting our strategic communication capability.
As for why the provision of Section 501 is still in effect, the backgrounder says that a simple explanation is the fear of both Democrats and Republicans that they will be accused of supporting domestic propaganda. But the primary reason for the provision's continued existence may be that the public just doesn't understand is involved in public diplomacy, Dr. Pilon writes.
n detailing what actions the United States should take, Heritage says that Congress should undertake immediate steps to get rid of Section 501 and that all U.S. agencies with a role in public diplomacy should be required to detail their efforts to the National Security Adviser. Additionally, the memo says, Congress should require training for all public employees participating in public diplomacy and should make available the funds for that training. Finally, Dr. Pilon argues, recipients of government grants and contracts should be required to tell the public about their diplomacy efforts in accordance with security requirements.
In closing, the memo says that the battle of ideas is critical in the contemporary environment and the United States should take the steps necessary to make its information message abroad as effective as possible.
Source: Heritage Foundation Backgrounder Nu
Juliana G. Pilon, Visiting Assistant Professor
St. Mary's College, Department of Political Science
A native of Romania who speaks French, Romanian and Hungarian, Dr. Pilon came to the U.S. after a seventeen-year attempt to emigrate. She studied philosophy at Princeton University and the University of Chicago where she received her Ph.D. in 1974. She has taught at Emory University, American University, George Washington University, the Institute of World Politics, and Johns Hopkins University. She was Executive Director and then Vice President of the National Forum Foundation (now part of Freedom House), Vice President for Programs at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) for nearly twelve years, and a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Dr. Pilon is the author of the autobiographical "Notes From the Other Side of Night," "The Bloody Flag: Post-Communist Nationalism in East-Central Europe," and over two hundred articles on various international issues including the United Nations, Soviet active measures, terrorism, East-West trade, as well as literary and cultural topics. Her anthology on civic education, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, entitled "Ironic Points of Light," was published in Estonian and Russian in 1998. She has also written and edited a textbook on civic education which is being used throughout Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, endorsed by the Departments of Education in these countries. While at IFES, Dr. Pilon has organized election assistance programs -- including election administration, election monitoring, voter education, poll worker training, and electoral systems analysis -- in Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Americas. Upon her departure from IFES on Sept. 10, 2002, the Board of Directors passed a resolution in gratitude “for her many years of distinguished service and her tremendous contributions to [IFES’] cause,” commending her “for her efforts in demonstrating that freedom and democratic ideals matter and that they are the primary tools needed to achieve a more peaceful and democratic world.” Her daughter Danielle graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from St. Mary's College in 2001. Her son Alex is a passionate mountainbiker and trumpeter.
Juliana G Pilon: As a Vice President for Programs at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES), Dr. Pilon has organized election assistance programs -- including election administration, election monitoring, voter education, poll worker training, civic education, and electoral systems analysis -- in Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Americas. Upon her departure from IFES on Sept. 10, 2002, the Board of Directors passed a resolution in gratitude “for her many years of distinguished service and her tremendous contributions to [IFES’] cause,” commending her “for her efforts in demonstrating that freedom and democratic ideals matter and that they are the primary tools needed to achieve a more peaceful and democratic world.”