Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Price is Right

Monroe Price’s Toward a Foreign Policy of Information Space has caused me to ponder the work of governments to further their dominance and democratic values and control media for human rights advocacy.

Throughout Price's essay, I had difficultly discerning the ways in which policy and governments justify international information intervention. Although my confusion may be due to Price’s complex sentence structures, I believe my misunderstanding is due to the general flexibility of foreign policy concerning media space. While set practices in foreign media policy may not be practical, the gray area that envelopes the relationship between public diplomacy and regulation is disconcerting. The Bush Administration’s efforts to “win hearts and minds” proceeding the attacks of September 11, 2001 reflect the powerful role government directed media structures can play in war time information control. Whether international or domestic policy establish information intervention, elements of media management are apparent in war, trade and intellectual capital practices and hence, can be increased or decreased without examination or consequence.

Due to the ambiguous nature of information intervention procedure, motivations for the practice must be evaluated. While preventative intervention for the diffusion of conflict is an invaluable tool for human rights advocacy, empirical or market dominance should not be the objectives behind “peace broadcasting” initiatives. I am hopeful, however, that increasing participation from civil society and NGOs will bring more stability to the process of foreign information intervention and challenge the previously unchallenged interests of the state.


  1. Hey, T! Way to be speedy with your post. To be honest, I was kind of surprised that you chose Price's article for commentary, since I found it about as enticing as dry toast, but I do see that you've commented on Price's "complex sentence structures" so presumably you didn't enjoy his rhetorical style any more than I did. One of the things I did think was interesting about Price's essay though was the fact he mentions that for years the US essentially entrusted foreign media policy to the private sector, which, as Nye points out, is ridiculous. I obviously don't think you can lay all anti-American animosity at the doorstep of Disney and CNN, but I do think it's fair to say that public diplomacy needs to work towards goals, and that those goals don't always coincide with business objectives.

  2. Haha, I one reason I chose Price was because I could be creative with my blog title :p

    I thought the use of the private sector for public diplomacy was interesting too. I'm still having trouble imagining just how that relationship between Roosevelt's Office of Wartime Info and Hollywood could be well managed. The idea of indirect public diplomacy is genious but unless we're talking about soft power through military presence or cooperation with multilateral institutions like NATO or the UN, I don't understand how public diplomacy can be effectively controlled by the government.