With China, Russia and Cuba leveraging Twitter to rally support of President Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela, and Iran-linked social media accounts spreading anti-Saudi sentiments while anti-Rohingya propaganda online fuels violence and displacement in Myanmar, the Internet is the new battleground for authoritarian governments. As fake news saturates the digital sphere, online sources of information have become less reliable, the public has grown more susceptible to propaganda, and democracy is increasingly in danger. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that journalists around the globe are well trained and invest in freedom of the press, which is in the best international...Continue
The world has never needed truth more than it does today, Secretary of State John Kerry remarked to a group of journalists earlier this month. His remarks came in early November 2016 at the beginning of the U.S. Department of State’s Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, a 3-week professional exchange for journalists from around the world. Journalists are our truth-tellers and purveyors of nuance in a world becoming increasingly polarized. Continue
Ukraine has been a constant topic in the global news cycle over the past year or so, especially since the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in March 2014. The public narrative and the news cycle around that particular event and the subsequent unrest in eastern Ukraine have been driven primarily by Western media on one hand and by Russian media outlets on the other. Little in this global discussion and debate has been shaped by Ukraine’s own narrative. One may legitimately ask, “Why is this the case?” In part this has to do with the reality of...Continue
As in the United States, journalists and independent media play a critical role in French society. Dating back to the establishment of “fourth estate” the French have protected their right to investigate, critique, and lampoon those who hold positions of power. During a recent dinner with French journalists in Washington on the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), I was reminded of our shared values and challenges. My discussion with French journalists Vincent Jarnigon and Violette Lazard underscored a fundamental challenge binds us together. Both nations have nurtured the notion of freedom of expression and tolerance....Continue
When I meet international visitors, most of which are participating in one of Meridian’s exchange programs, I often talk about the impact of these exchanges on the lives and careers of previous participants. I often mention Meridian alumni who went on to shine in the global spotlight. Some are very well-known: Nicolas Sarkozy, Mikhail Saakashvili, Romano Prodi, Hamid Karzai, Margaret Thatcher. A few are better known locally: Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen, President of Guatemala, Norovyn Altankhuyag, Prime Minister of Mongolia, Egypt’s former President Anwar Sadat, Finland’s current President, Sauli Niinisto, or Ehud Olmert, former Prime Minister of Israel. In total, some 168 current or former heads of state have stepped through Meridian’s doors mostly as participants in the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.