Freedom Promotion Act of 2002

Introduced by

U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), Chairman
House International Relations Committee

 

Prepared by the House International Relations Committee
CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875

INTRODUCTION DATE: March 14, 2001

REPORTED BY HIRC: April 25, 2001

HEARINGS: The Committee held two hearings. The first occurred on October 10, 2001 (transcript available at ) and included testimony from Charlotte Beers, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Marc Nathanson, Chairman, Broadcasting Board of Governors; Ambassador Kenton Keith, Senior Vice President for Programming, Meridian International Center; and Norman J. Pattiz, Founder & Chairman, Westwood One, Inc., member, Broadcasting Board of Governors. The second hearing was held November 14, 2001 (transcript available at ) and included testimony from Ambassador Edward S. Walker, Jr., President, Middle East Institute, former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Israel and the United Arab Emirates and former Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State); John W. Leslie, Jr., Chairman, Weber Shandwick; Robert L. Wehling, Former Chairman, Advertising Council, Retired Global Marketing Officer, Procter & Gamble; Mouafac Harb, Washington Bureau Chief, Al Hayat Newspaper; John Romano, Producer/Writer.

LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY:

Title I: Department of State

Specific authorizing language. The legislation gives shape to the direction and manner in which public diplomacy is carried out by defining the statutory authorization; defines the role of the Secretary of State in public diplomacy more specifically in terms of standards, technologies, and target audiences:

Requires the Secretary of State to ensure that there is a "cohesive and coherent" strategy to "aggressively....counter misinformation and hostile propaganda concerning the United States."

In coordination with the reconstituted International Broadcasting Agency, the Secretary of State "shall develop and articulate long-term measurable objectives for United States public diplomacy.

Mandates development of an annual strategic communications plan by the Department of State to advance U.S. foreign policy goals including a tactical communications plan for implementation at the embassy level. The development of this plan must be coordinated with the many federal agencies active in international programs. Although the State Department is not given operational control over programs and activities conducted by other agencies, it is designated as the lead agency.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy - Created in 1999 with the consolidation of the Department of State and the United States Information Agency (USIA), the Under Secretary is given new authority over public diplomacy directors serving in the departmentís six regional bureaus to improve coordination of public diplomacy activities.

The legislation creates a firewall around the budget for public diplomacy and authorizes an additional $70 million for exchange and cultural programs and $40 million for other public diplomacy programs over two years.

The legislation also provides $7.5 million annually to the Office of Broadcast Services at the Department of State to accelerate its outreach to the world. A key objective is to equip the State Department with the requisite facilities, including studios and satellite capability, to enable it to act as a command center for a public diplomacy operations globally and in real time.

Development of programming. The State Department is authorized to develop programming in coordination with U.S. Agency for International Development for foreign audiences separate from the renamed International Broadcasting Agency. State is encouraged to work with foreign television broadcasters and other media to produce and distribute programming.

Establishment of the Public Diplomacy Reserve Corps. Includes a database of eligible experts in foreign policy and mass communication for temporary assignments to augment the Department during "emergency and critical circumstances worldwide."

Enhanced training in media and advocacy skills for the Foreign Service and Ambassadors. The Foreign Service is encouraged to recruit individuals with experience in public diplomacy and to emphasize to all incoming officers that public diplomacy is an important part of their job. Training for Ambassadors and Foreign Service officers should include a component on public diplomacy and the tools and technology of mass communication. In particular, Ambassadors should take a prominent role in the formulation of public diplomacy strategies for the country and regions to which they are assigned and be formally held accountable for the operation and success of the public diplomacy efforts at their posts.

Translation services. To assist Public Affairs Offices in embassies worldwide, the legislation adds an additional $4 million annually for document translation services.

Mandates in-depth research on public and media attitudes in regions chosen at the discretion of the Department of State. This includes a requirement that analyses of the comparative effectiveness of the various efforts undertaken in the area of public diplomacy be provided annually, including the use of the private sector in the U.S. and overseas.

Alumni program. A database of international alumni of U.S. exchange programs will be created in order to expand and utilize the connections established.

American Library initiative. A demonstration program will examine the most effective way to augment resources in local public library systems to improve literacy and to "familiarize participants with American values and society, particularly the importance of freedom and democracy."

Reform of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Mandates a comprehensive biennial study by the Commission of the State Departmentís public diplomacy and requires that at least four of the seven Commission members have "substantial experience in the conduct of public diplomacy or comparable activities in the private sector."

Title II: Initiatives Aimed at the Muslim World:

Youth Ambassadors - Authorizes a summer youth exchange program for young individuals from countries with a predominantly Muslim population. (Short- term exchanges of 3-4 weeks in length) to familiarize participants with the United States.

Journalism program - Authorizes an initiative to work with foreign journalists in to increase their familiarity with appropriate practices and techniques and to enhance international standards of quality and objectivity. This program will be established and operated in cooperation with private sector sponsors, including universities and exchange programs.

English language training. Creates a pilot program to increase English language skills by sending Americans to middle schools in the Muslim world to provide English language instruction.

Sister Cities Initiative: Authorizes funds for an expanded "sister cities" program to increase the number of US-sister city partnerships in countries with a predominantly Muslim population. (Currently there are 42 such partnerships). These partnerships are aimed at community level development and volunteer action and include non-federal support.

Fulbright Exchange Programs: Requires new emphasis on exchanges of U.S. professionals seeking to study, teach, conduct research or pursue scholarship in predominately Muslim countries.

National Endowment for Democracy: Provides an additional $10 million over two years to fund programs "that promote democracy, media, religious tolerance, the rights of women and strengthening of civil society" in predominately Muslim countries.

Title III: International Broadcasting

Establishment of the International Broadcasting Agency - The legislation reorganizes U.S. international broadcasting programs, now headed by a part-time Board of Broadcasting Governors, into an agency headed by a director appointed by the Board. The reorganization is designed to ensure accountability by an identified decision maker while causing minimal disruption to broadcasting operations and preserving the strengths of the Board. The present Board of Governors will be reconstituted as the Board of International Broadcasting of the U.S. International Broadcasting Agency and will retain operational control of grants to entities including Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Free Europe.

Development of television services to the Middle East and elsewhere. The legislation provides an initial $135 million to the Board of International Broadcasting (formerly known as the BBG) to expand television and radio broadcasting to countries with predominately Muslim populations. in order to dramatically expand access mass audiences of uncensored news and entertainment.