Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Common Sense Approach to U.S. International Broadcasting Reform

Author: Alan Heil

Congress is currently considering legislation aimed at long-needed reforms in U.S government funded international media.  At issue is coordination of a complex galaxy of five networks that are vital to our nation’s security.  None is more essential and more cost effective today than the most widely-known flagship network, the Voice of America.
The U.S. International Communications Reform Act of 2015 (HR 2323) seeks to streamline and improve the nation’s outreach to a curious and increasingly tech-savvy world where authoritative, timely and reliable news is sought by tens of millions of viewers, listeners and on line users each and every week.
HR 2323 in its present form, however, is seriously flawed.  It calls for restrictions in the longstanding mission of VOA, a federal agency, while enhancing the privately incorporated but U.S.G. financed surrogate grantee entities, RFE/RL, RFA, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.[1]  VOA, the draft measure says, should largely concentrate on U.S. news and policies and “international developments that affect the United States.”
Such a straitjacket on VOA’s global news coverage would do unacceptable damage to the credibility of the very institution HR 2323 praises.
The Voice’s global content --- American and world news --- is clearly spelled out in a long-standing VOA Charter adopted by Congress three times since 1976 as Public Laws 94-350, 103-415 and 105-277.  VOA’s audience today is by far its largest ever, by some estimates in the neighborhood of 173 million adults weekly worldwide.  That is a significant, frequently unheralded public diplomacy triumph. 
Yet HR 2323 maintains that “despite its tremendous success, the Voice of America would benefit substantially from a recalibration of Federal international broadcasting agencies and resources, which would provide the Voice of America with greater mission focus and flexibility in the deployment of news, programming and content.”  That is both wrong and unnecessary.
The Voice’s mission is clearly spelled out in a long-standing Charter adopted by Congress three times since 1976 as Public Laws 94-350, 103-415 and 105-277.  The Charter requires the Voice to be an accurate, objective and comprehensive source of news, to offer a balanced reflection of American thought and institutions, and to convey American policies clearly and effectively as well as responsible discussion of those policies. The Voice does so daily, serving both America’s interests and its national security.  The Charter reflects Congressional mandates for U.S.-funded civilian international broadcasting that occurred as early as the mid-1940s.
So it is mystifying that HR 2323 further alleges that “the lack of a coherent and well-designed mission of the Voice of America has led to programming that duplicates the efforts of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, RFE/RL Incorporated, and the Middle East Broadcasting Network Incorporated that results in inefficient use of taxpayer funding.”  That’s simply not so.
Four times last year, the Voice had exclusive interviews with Secretary Kerry on topics including Russia’s incursions in Ukraine, the latest atrocities of the Islamic state, and the Nobel Peace Prize for Malala Yusufzai.  VOA likely saved thousands of lives in Africa and elsewhere because of its extensive on scene coverage and public service announcements on Ebola prevention measures.
A glance at the English and 46 other language websites of the Voice of America on any day reveals numerous stories about America that reflect democracy in action as well as a rich palette of world news.  Charter-driven, credible, honest journalism --- including recent on scene reportage from Nepal, Eastern Ukraine, the war against ISIS and refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa --- attracts far more audiences than a restricted agenda of only American news and policies ever would.
America’s international broadcasting overall shares facts and insights with others around the world accustomed to surfing for information from a variety of sources.  The myth of duplication cited in HR 2323 is from another era.  In fact, content overlap is relatively rare, as a  comparison of English or language websites of all five U.S.-funded networks reveals every day.
VOA’s 28th director, David Ensor, recently summed up how full service, honest journalism enhances an understanding of America and contributes to our nation’s security:
“Moving forward, VOA will continue to set a standard, to be widely emulated, for principled, objective and trustworthy journalism, based on the notion that the proper response to propaganda is honest reporting, not counter-propaganda. It will reflect theconviction that if people have good information, they will make better decisions on matters that affect their lives. Done properly, this will not only ensure a wider understanding of American values and viewpoints, but also enhance respect for the  United States as a nation where truthfulness and fairness are highly valued.”
1)    All five networks should be directed by a single Chief Executive Officer and advisory board, not dual bureaucracies as envisioned in HR 2323.  Appointment and installation of an impartial CEO, charged with day-to-day coordination of all the networks, is urgently needed.
2)    The rapidly-expanding collaborations among broadcasters evident in joint programming ventures such as the VOA-Radio Liberty daily Current Time TV program to Ukraine and Russia’s near abroad merit additional support and expansion --- with an equitable allocation of resources to each and every network collaborating on such projects.
3)    Abolition of administrative duplication, not elimination of content producers and individual language or news services, should be the focus in essential reforms ahead.
4)    Unification around the goal of honest, comprehensive, shared news and programming, not divisive competition for resources or turf, should be required of all network managements.
5)    The networks’ credibility should be shielded from interference by both the executive and legislative branches and private sector sources.  The oversight Broadcasting Board of Governors has, to its credit, issued a series of “firewall” memos safeguarding all the networks from interference in programming content. 
6)    In this digital age, U.S. international broadcasting must be sufficiently funded, flexible, and empowered to react instantaneously to crises and natural disasters in a world awash in potential threats to U.S. national security.
As former BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson so wisely put it in an appearance at the April 2015 meeting of the Board:  “It is ingrained in the American DNA to be thrilled with the spread of information --- Benjamin Franklin even developed the postal system.  But the main point:  we’ve always been enamored of an open system.  Information technology has bent the arc of history toward individual empowerment.  If you can keep free media in U.S. (publicly-funded) international broadcasting, the future is bright.” 
“Our goal is not to capture minds, but free them.”---Iconic CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, as Director of the United States Information Agency, 1962 
[1]  Radio-TV Marti to Cuba, unlike the other surrogates, is part of the International Broadcasting Bureau, a federal agency responsible for administrative support and delivery systems of all five networks.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy: Academic racketeering (wrong word?) on "pubic diplomacy [no typo]" instruction/expense -- hopefully at its most productive ...

JB comment -- I had the privilege of serving as a "Public Diplomacy" USG officer for over twenty years. My take, for what it's worth, from my limited experience: You learn essentially to practice public diplomacy in the field (and possibly from a background in "non-specialized" studies, including in science, language, literature, and history) rather than from narrow "PD training." 

Enjoy your GW quickie course! But -- my humble advice -- don't forget, if you wish to serve your country as best you can, to keep up with science; read great works of literature; listen to great music; look at great works of art, and -- yes -- endure popular shows on Tee-Vee -- if only to speak about something "important/relevant" to your overseas interlocutors.

The worse thing a PD officer can be is to be intellectually barren. Nobody of any importance abroad will listen to you if you follow a "PD strategy."


Here's the GW announcement, full of words/phrases that, quite frankly, are an offense to the English language (highlighted in yellow);

The courses are designed to combine the necessary theoretical elements with the practical component, the students assimilating public diplomacy tools, from conceptual history to the developing strategies of Public Diplomacy, along with the development of the skills for the implementing of theory on concrete cases.

GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy is the most adequate education program in the context of the development of the new digital technologies and social media, offering to the students the opportunity to evaluate themselves, to improve and to adapt them to new trends in construction and strengthen of the competitive identities.

At the final of the courses our students will be able to accurately assess the level of international credibility of their institution or their country, will be able to accurately determine the vulnerabilities and advantages in enhancing credibility, will determine vulnerabilities and advantages of each constituent part of the country brand and will be able to choose the correct public policies that may be subject to external promotions on solid foundation. [JB comment -- Good luck, guys and gals! The real world is not that simple.]  Also, our students will be able to develop public diplomacy strategies both to promote the image abroad and to counteract on external influence actions that may cause damages to the image of the country.  Also, through the international character, GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy offers the opportunity to widen the relational network of specialists in public diplomacy worldwide.

George Washington University, The Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication (Washington DC, USA), along with the Center for Public Diplomacy in Bucharest have found the optimal solution for organizing intensive courses in Public Diplomacy for European students, in Europe. So, starting this year, GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy is held in Europe, thus realizing optimizing both price and reducing the time that students absent from their jobs.

Who Should Apply
The courses are designed for those who work in the diplomatic service, in public service (central and local administration) and those who have assignments in the field of institutional communication. Last but not least, GW Master Class on 

Public Diplomacy courses is [sic] designed for those with assignments on the field of defense and national security.

Admission Requirements

Participants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or equivalent and have extensive experience in public diplomacy or a related field. Fluency in spoken and written English is essential!

Applications for GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy

Registration should be done up on June 30, 2015 by completing the registration form available on Please complete all fields carefully and send the required documents
For further information please call +40 766 191 537 or write to

In addition, please register as soon as possible because the maximum number of students admitted to GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy is 30.
Tuition Fees

Tuition at GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy is 6000 EUR and the amount should be paid as follows:

– 1000 EUR up on June 30, 2015.
– 4000 EUR up on July 15, 2015.
– Integral (6000 EUR) payment up on July 30, 2015.
For the institutions that contract 2 to 4 students The Center for Public Diplomacy will apply a discount of 10%. For institutions that contract a total of five or more students the discount is 15% to the total amount.
Cancellation and refunding:
– Until 30 June 2015 full refund for payments already done.
– Up to 15 July 2015 refund 50% of the payments already done.
– Until July 30 is returned 30% of the payments already done.
Payment will be made in EUR, on follows account:
Association for Public Diplomacy Center
Raiffeisen Bank Vacaresti
Tuition fee does not include the transport costs, accommodation and meals but represents the value of courses and of the support materials, necessary for course.
For issues related to accommodation in Bucharest, the Center for Public Diplomacy has negotiated preferential prices for GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy students at the best hotels (Intercontinental, Marriott, Hilton, and Continental) and in close proximity to University of Bucharest and Headquarters of Center for Public Diplomacy.
The board of GW Master Class on Public Diplomacy:
Sean Aday – Director of Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication.
P J Crowley – Professor at George Washington University
Dan Dima  – Coordinator of Center for Public Diplomacy
Dan Dima, specialist in the field of public diplomacy, founder of the Center for Public Diplomacy, former adviser to Vice President of the Romanian Senate, former adviser to the foreign minister on three mandates, a former advisor in the Office of the President of Romania and currently advisor to the National Security Department of the Presidential Administration.
Teodor Melescanu – Honorary President of Center for Public Diplomacy
Teodor Melescanu, professor, Ph.D. advisor, diplomat, former Foreign Minister, former Minister of Defense, former Minister of Justice, former Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, currently State Advisor for National Security in the Office of the Prime Minister of Romania and Honorary President of the Center for Public Diplomacy.

Under Secretary Richard Stengel Travel to Paris

DetailsWritten by State Department\
Washington, DC - Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel will travel to Paris, France from June 1 – June 3. He will be accompanied by Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan.
A principal focus of their meetings in Paris will be discussions with international partners on the trafficking of looted antiquities. While in Paris, they will meet at UNESCO with Director-General Irina Bokova and participate in a roundtable with stakeholders to discuss measures that the international community can take to cut off trafficking in antiquities, especially from Iraq and Syria.
Later, they participate in a press conference hosted by the International Council of Museums at the Louvre to announce the release of an updated Emergency Red List of Iraqi Cultural Objects at Risk, funded by the State Department. The Red List is designed to promote greater awareness for global law enforcement officials and for members of the trade and collecting communities about the types of objects subject to looting and trafficking. The Red List serves as an important tool in the recovery and return of archaeological objects to their country of origin.
While in Paris, Under Secretary Stengel will meet with senior Coalition partners engaged in the Global Counter-ISIL Coalition working group on communications. He will also participate in the June 2 Paris Counter-ISIL Coalition Small Group Ministerial meeting with Secretary Kerry.

Friday, May 29, 2015

definitions for diplomacy


Why Backpacking Diplomacy? - Backpacking Diplomacy

Big Stick ideology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Diplomatic and Official Passports

What Is a Diplomatic Passport? (with pictures)

Sleuth Diplomacy by endrae on DeviantArt

Public and Cultural Diplomacy 4 | A group blog by students at ...

Diplomacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Understanding Citizen Diplomacy - The Center for Citizen Diplomacy

Panipat Battle Winner Images - Frompo

Tags: Africa , African Standby Force , AU , Force africaine en ...

The Marietta Daily Journal - Mulling a Ukraine policy

Wetland Diplomacy: Transboundary Conservation and Ramsar - Our World

University of Prishtina: Creating Conditions for Development and ...

Shillelagh Law and Women | Woodbury, MN Patch

Diplomacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diplomacy Greeting Card | Zazzle

King Cotton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Brown's Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review: August 2-5

Michael Cheval - Art of Diplomacy II | Surrealists | Pinterest

America And The Idea Battle-Space – OpEd

JB comment -- Since when do ideas have to be "at war"?


In the contemporary affairs the importance of media can never be ignored. Apart from being used by states to convey information to the general public, it is also being used by the non-state actors to convey their ideas and sentiments.
With respect to modern day terrorism, it is very important for a terrorist organizations to convey their message to a larger audience. This results in getting more recruits and also provides justification for their narrative. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies, and countries at a larger level, also use the media to counter the narrative of the non-state actors and terrorist organizations. Hence, the concept of idea battle-space, the war of ideas, is the set of contrasting ideologies, concepts or visions and their interpretations which certain groups use to exercise influence and to promote their narrative. Here, the battlefield and target is the hearts and minds of the people. In the war of ideas, the weapons used are print and electronic media, internet, public diplomacy, think tanks, etc.

The United States, which is leading the war against terror, has now been at war with terrorists for more than a decade. It is more of a war of ideas between America and Al-Qaeda or Islamic State. The terrorist organizations have been using various means to export their narrative and ideas to gain more support in the public. In the information age and with growing technological advancements, this war of ideas has been expanding. The terrorists’ organizations are successfully exporting their ideas and posing a challenge to America and its counter-terrorism policy. The internet is an important weapon in this battlefield as it is available to the terrorist organizations. It has served as a great equalizer in this regard as the current age of information has brought the terrorist organizations in line with the great powers in spreading their message on a global level. It is due to the use of internet and other media that the Islamic State has gained much attention and has risen briskly.

The challenge posed by the Islamic State for the United States in the idea battlefield can be analyzed from the unclassified confidential conference calls between Major General Michael Nagata, commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in the Middle East, and some academics regarding how we can defeat IS in the battlefield of ideas. In one of the calls, MG Nagata said, “We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it. We do not even understand the idea.”

Such a statement by a leading General shows that the Pentagon is not clear in how to fight the terrorists on the battlefield of ideas. Apart from that, recently, in a White House Summit to counter violent extremism, Sasha Havlicek, CEO of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, in her presentation said that the, “Government is ill-placed to lead in the battle of ideas.”
“We are outdone in content, quantity and quality,” Havlicek added, arguing that the United States is facing a challenge by the Islamic State and other extremist groups in the digital propaganda war and in fact it is losing that war. In 2006, Donald Rumsfeld in a press conference categorically stated that Al-Qaeda is better at public relations then we are and United States has a deficiency in the area of public affairs.
This shows that how these terrorist organizations are successful in gaining support and in maintaining their recruitment lines by exporting their ideas through the use of information means and innovative techniques and thus posing a challenge to the world. These terrorist organizations are using blended tactics and have flexible adaptable structures. They have been adopting all the available information means that are serving as weapons for them and most importantly their ideas are doing the work of ammunition. Recently three persons were arrested from New York who were sympathizers of IS and wanted to join – showsing that Islamic State is not dependent upon material conditions, but it is enhancing its capability by propagating its ideas to get the manpower.

Disrupting the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda structure through military action will only be a short term success. Along with military action there is a dire need to launch a vigorous counter-propaganda campaign to discredit the ideas being propagated by Islamic State. Merely promoting the conventional ideals of freedom and democracy throughout the world won’t make America and the American-led coalition win the battle against the terrorists. The United States of America, a super power and technologically advanced country, lagging behind in the idea battlefield clearly reflects the limitations it faces as a super power. The society of the United States is one of the information dependent societies — which also makes it vulnerable. When the conflict is in the idea battle-space then it cannot be won in the physical world, the terrorist organizations take actions in physical world to gain attention. True success for United States lies in winning the idea battle-space.

*Faiza Rashid Lone is an M Phil scholar at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Israel’s divine diplomacy – i24news

Daniel Shek,

Extract from article:

Most Israelis have never considered foreign relations as particularly important, even though they are obsessed with the way the world views our country. “Hasbara”, the untranslatable Hebrew term for PR-communication-branding-public affairs-public diplomacy-propaganda put together, is far higher on the agenda of our leaders than the well-being of our relations with the rest of the world. This may seem like a strange attitude on the past of a tiny nation located in a not-too-friendly neighborhood, but hey, there’s no shortage of paradoxes around here. Those who preach the building of alliances and strengthening of friendships with world powers are generally regarded as wimps who lack self-confidence and national pride.

Latvian cultural institutions cooperate with the Google Cultural Institute platform

Thanks to support from the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, several Latvian cultural institutions have entered into successful cooperation with the Google Cultural Institute platform. Materials from the National Library of Latvia (NLL), the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) can be viewed on this platform as a continuation of the Latvian Presidency cultural programme, reports

“The Latvian Presidency public diplomacy and cultural programme is aimed at a wide international audience. This is one of the projects through which people can get to know about Latvia's cultural heritage. I am pleased with our work to date with the Google Cultural Institute and I hope that this cooperation will continue so that the world can have access to even more information about Latvian culture,” says Selga Laizāne, Head of the Latvian EU Council Presidency cultural programme.

Users of the web platform are able to view pictures from the My, Your, Our Riga 100 Years Ago exhibition that was on display at the NLL as part of the Riga 2014 European Capital of Culture programme. This digital exhibition transports visitors to the city of Riga through maps, documents, drawings and photographs from the 18th century until the early 20th century. The story concludes with an entry in the diary of a German schoolgirl stating: “20 July 1914. Germany has declared war on Russia”.

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia provides extraordinary pictures of graffiti on the Berlin Wall that call for the independence of Latvia and the Baltic states. It offers a sneak peak at street art on the West Berlin side of the Wall directed against the Soviet regime, some of which was created by Latvians living in exile.

Meanwhile the LNMA offers digitalised versions of several exhibitions. Users are given access to a selection of works from the history of Latvian painting and to a separate online exhibition, An Insight into the Latvian Culture Canon. Visual Art. This features the most outstanding works by Latvian artists along with biographies of the authors and descriptions of how the paintings were created and the most striking artistic techniques used.

The Secret of Art is in the Details exhibition allows the spectator to look into the details of European 19th-century art in the Riga Bourse Art Museum collection. The Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Beļcova offers an exceptional selection of paintings, graphics, book illustrations, scenography and costume sketches, tableware and interior design created by Romans Suta, providing an insight into Latvian modernist art. The Museum of Decorative Arts and Design has, for its part, prepared a collection of porcelain.

The Google Cultural Institute was created with the aim of giving Internet users an opportunity to enjoy cultural riches, to explore exhibitions dedicated to various historical events, and to enjoy virtual visits of museums and architectural monuments from the ancient and modern worlds. Putting historical material on the Internet not only opens up access to more people in the present, but also preserves these various works for future generations.

Global Students Help, Don’t Hurt Area Economy

Letters to the Editor | Wed, 05/27/2015 - 9:58 am | Updated 20 hours 15 min ago | Read 116 | Commented 5 | Emailed 0
By Vicki Clark
To the Editor: In response to several posts in this newspaper’s Spout Off section about international students working in Cape May County during the summer, it is important that the benefits of the program are also shared. Tourism in Cape May County is a $5.8-billion industry and is the number one job creator. Students who participate in the Summer Work Travel Program in Cape May County provide a valuable asset to the local economy by enabling many seasonal businesses to be open when the local workforce is not available or sufficient in numbers. Business owners consider international student workers as supplemental to the local workforce with a preference to hiring local residents. The reality is that without these international students, Cape May County would experience huge economic losses due to our insufficient number of available local workers between March and October as well as the loss of jobs that are supported by the Summer Work Travel program itself. The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce supports this program and considers it integral to the success of our seasonal tourism industry. The Summer Work Travel Program was created to promote educational and cultural exchanges with other countries and is administered through the U. S. Department of State as a public diplomacy program. Students work to support themselves and experience the American workplace and way of life. This program has far-reaching benefits for the United States at no cost to the American public
Vicki Clark is the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce president

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Argentinean and Turkish journalists meet in efforts to enhance relations

Turkey's Directorate General of Press and Information (DGPI) and the Office of Public Diplomacy have organized a joint program from May 22 to May 29 for a delegation of journalists from Argentina in an effort to provide accurate and direct information on Turkey to the citizens of the country. In this regard, Turkish journalists from various media organizations met with the Argentinean journalists at a dinner on Monday.

As the DGPI and the Office of Public Diplomacy previously hosted members of the media from the Russian Federation, India, Kuwait and Central Asian republics throughout 2015 in Turkey, the Argentinean journalists who arrived in Ankara on Sunday first visited the Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of the modern Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Continuing their program, the journalists visited the DGPI and the Office of Public Diplomacy, which was followed by a visit to the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

During the dinner, which was also attended by the head of the Public Diplomacy Coordination Office, Cemalettin Haşimi, the Turkish and Argentinean journalists discussed and shared information regarding both countries' political agendas. Commenting on Turkey's role in the region and its stance worldwide, the Argentinean journalists underlined that Turkey is perceived as a model that represents the democratization of Islam. They further said that Turkey has a positive image throughout Argentina and emphasized the wish to enhance relations between the two countries further.

The program will continue with a visit to the Center for Eurasian Studies (AVİM) and the International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crimes (UTSAM) on Tuesday. Then the Argentinean journalists will travel to Istanbul where they will meet with representatives from Turkish Airlines, the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK), Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), the Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM).

A Muslim Grandpa in America: Public Diplomacy in Action (video)


Monday, May 25, 2015

Why African leaders need to learn better communication skills

Osabuohien P. Amienyi [extract from article]


Managing negative perceptions

The process of managing negative perceptions should begin with leaders who firmly understand how to ensure that their message is not lost or ignored because of poor or ineffective communication skills. Rather than jailing journalists or making it difficult for media organisations to work, African leaders should see media outlets as vital allies.

Many Western leaders have learned this lesson. They use a variety of methods, including public relations, information campaigns, soft power and “public diplomacy”. This influences how they are seen at home and also ensures that Western narratives remain dominant in the global media landscape.

The most difficult time for leaders to deal with news media is during crisis situations. Although non-crisis times can be equally challenging, it is normally when an unexpected event occurs that the leader’s ability to communicate and deal with reporters is put to the greatest test.

In general, effective communication requires paying attention to the needs of the source, message, channel and receiver. The focus here is on the role of the leader as a communication source in a crisis situation.
The key to ensuring that a leader emerges with his or her reputation intact after interacting with media during a crisis is the quality of their verbal and non-verbal communication. The successful crisis communicator is transparent, increasingly accessible, trustworthy and reliable and has the practical ability to convey information effectively.

Rules for effective communication

Here’s what every effective crisis communicator needs in his or her armoury.

Transparency: Openness and accountability are the watchwords here. Full disclosure of information should be the norm. Leaders should be open and tell the full story to keep reporters from seeking other sources. They should get the facts and answer questions, but avoid hiding or appearing to hide anything. If they do not have all the facts, they should simply tell reporters that they don’t have all the details yet, but will look into the matter more deeply and get back to them later.

Trust and credibility: There is a preponderance of reports of corruption on the continent, so the issues of trust and reliability are ones African leaders often confront. Credibility is established through a consistency of long-term honest and open dealings with media.

Allies: African leaders often see the media as adversaries. This does not have to be the case. Truth be told, good relations between the media and all other actors are vital for obtaining the cooperation needed to find a solutions in a situation.
Accessibility: Some people believe that if you avoid the media for long enough, they will go away. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact, the key to a successful relationship with journalists is being increasingly accessible. The media will interpret an event for many different audiences, so they will always need an immediate response.

The ability to tell a story well: The leader should engage their audience by being passionate and truthful. They should not ever scold  a reporter for asking hard questions, nor tell journalists not to talk about specific issues. If they are thrown an unexpected question, they don’t have to answer right away. They should take the time to collect their thought before answering. Silent pauses are fine - they show that a person is thinking, considering and is careful and precise. But “ummms” should avoided at all costs.

Leaders who follow these guidelines will find their encounters with journalists in private and public situations non-threatening. Their interactions will yield mutual benefits for the leaders who have agendas to promote and the media, who must keep ordinary citizens informed.