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U.S. Public Diplomacy: Legislative Proposals to Amend Prohibitions on Disseminating Materials to Domestic Audiences
Matthew C. Weed )au)
Public diplomacy involves U.S. government activities to conduct U.S. foreign policy and promote U.S. national interests through direct outreach and communication with the population of foreign countries. Public diplomacy and international broadcasting activities, conducted by the Dept. of State, U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad, and U.S. international broadcasters such as the Voice of America, include providing information to foreign publics through broadcast and Internet media and at libraries and other outreach facilities in foreign countries; conducting cultural diplomacy, such as art exhibits and music performances; and administering international educational and professional exchange programs. For decades, Congress has enacted legislative provisions concerning U.S. government communications to U.S. domestic audiences that prohibit influencing public opinion through unauthorized publicity or propaganda. In the case of U.S. public diplomacy and international broadcasting, two additional legislative provisions prohibit the dissemination and general availability of communications and related materials intended for foreign publics to U.S. domestic audiences: Section 501 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (Smith-Mundt Act) as well as Section 208 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 1986 and 1987 (Zorinsky Amendment). Contents of this report: Introduction; Smith-Mundt Act and Related Provisions; Proposed Restatement of Section 501 and the Zorinsky Amendment; Issues for Congress; Considerations for Congressional Action. Tables. This is a print on demand report.
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