Public Diplomacy in the Middle East

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

Public Diplomacy in the Middle East


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Helle Dale's premise in her column ("Spreading the word," Op-Ed, Wednesday) is a false one. Far from "lacking in strategic vision," the Broadcasting Board of Governors had the foresight to recognize the importance of the Middle East as a target audience well before September 11.

The concept of Radio Sawa, an Arab-language pop music and news station funded by the U.S. government, was presented to the board in January 2001 and did not have to be invented from scratch when the war on terror began.

This was followed by Al Hurra television, which celebrated its second anniversary this week. The vision of the board to develop a strong broadcast presence in the Middle East has been realized with combined radio and TV audiences for Middle East broadcasting climbing from $1.6 million in 2000 to $35.7 million in 2005 and with ever-expanding use of our Web sites.

The column is right in one aspect: Despite recent increases, we are still living within budget constraints for fiscal 2007. …

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