Thursday, 16 June 2016

Factually Rich, Well Researched Reporting is the Best Counter to Propaganda

New Diplomacy's efforts to strengthen journalism standards were conceived in the belief that propaganda thrives where there is a lack of critical thinking combined with a dearth of knowledge and understanding about other perspectives and other countries.

The US House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on 14 June 2016, entitled "US Policy Towards Putin's Russia". One of the more critical perspectives on the regime of Vladimir Putin came from Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Russia (2012-2014), who argued that “Putin will take advantage of opportunities, including splits within the alliance or ambiguities about NATO's commitment to defend all members. We must deny him new opportunities, and reduce to zero his doubt about our commitment to defending all NATO allies against military threats.”

On Russian propaganda, McFaul's remarks chimed with the approach taken by New Diplomacy, even calling for American funding of fellowship and internships at Western universities and media organisations. Of course, we need to strengthen the quality of reporting in many western media outlets too, but on his point on fellowships, that is just what New Diplomacy is doing (with American funding, no less ...). Click here for the New Diplomacy Independent Journalism Fellowship for Eastern Partnership Countries. Deadline: 20 June 2016.

This is what McFaul had to say:
"The United States government should not seek to counter Russian propaganda with American propaganda. Instead, the best method for countering disinformation is real reporting from credible journalists in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries in the region. American direct funding of these media outlets would taint them. Instead, our focus should be on providing short-term training opportunities, yearlong fellowships at American and European universities, and internships at Western media organisations. Education and the free-flow of information are our best tools in this long struggle against Russian propaganda."

Click here for video of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing, “US Policy Towards Putin's Russia”, 14 June 2016

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