A new public diplomacy plan, authored by Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, says the United States must "offer a positive vision of hope and opportunity that is rooted in our most basic values." The "U.S. National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication" promotes a Hughes favorite, the "diplomacy of deeds," which is defined as "providing health care, education, economic opportunity, food and shelter, training for political participation, help after disasters." Also put forward is a "Counterterrorism Communications Center," to develop "messages and strategies to discredit terrorists and their ideology." The Center is "now being formed at the State Department and [is] staffed heavily with military and intelligence officers," reports Warren Strobel. The new plan stresses that "all communication and public diplomacy activities" should "support those who struggle for freedom and democracy." Former State Department official Price Floyd countered, "When people hear that, they stop and say, 'What about Abu Ghraib? What about Guantanamo?'"
As of May 14, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) began "blocking access 'worldwide' to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites on its computers and networks." General B.B.
"Intimidation and harassment of the Afghan news media have come from a variety of sources," reports Pamela Constable, "including government prosecutors, police, regional militias, parliament, Islamic clerical councils and U.S.-led military forces." The Afghan parliament is considering banning "news coverage that disturbs the public or has an 'un-Islamic' theme." The measure, which is exp
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into three advance journalist briefings, prior to police raids in February that resulted in six men being arrested and charged with terrorism offences.
In a plea bargain, the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner convicted on terrorism charges by the U.S. government's military commission, David Hicks, agreed to a 12 month ban on speaking to the media. After five years at Guantanamo Bay, Hicks will serve a further nine months in a prison in his home state of South Australia. The gag condition -- which would be illegal for a U.S.
"Hailed as a major success of five years of democracy-building, media freedom in Afghanistan is under increasing pressures," writes Alisa Tang. A spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said, "We've moved from an open media environment to a state-controlled media environment." A proposed law would increase government power over media outlets and make reporting "humiliating and offensive" news a criminal offense.