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Promoting Education

11 Oct

Promoting Education
By Anna Leonova
(Published in Page 13 of “The Journalist”, a magazine which is a joint project of Moscow State University and University of Washington Tacoma)

During the Cold War, some American
organizations, such as the Fund for
American Studies (TFAS), sponsored by
the U. S. Congress, were considered to be
propaganda tools whose missions were to
popularize American values and ideas. Has
the perception of these groups changed
during the past 10 to 15 years?

Being an alumna of the European Journalism
Institute organized by TFAS, I can say that
the public interest in different educational
projects for journalists, politicians, and social
sector collaborators now is extremely high.
It is obvious that in today’s global world
there is not only one player in the field of
international policy. Now Europe is also included
in a process of global experience exchange.

For example, in 1999 media-specialists
of the Czech Republic launched a web
project called Transitions Online (TOL).
Taking into account all this information,
we should consider the relevance of the term
“propaganda.” Michelle Jeffreys Lee, coordinator
of The Fund for American Studies
based in Washington, D. C., is convinced
that this organization isn’t a propaganda
tool.

“The Fund for American Studies allows
students to intellectually focus on issues of
freedom and liberty,” says Lee. “Free markets
and free societies do not just belong to
America or to Western societies. Liberty is
the right of all people everywhere. And the
struggle to promote and protect freedom
takes place every day in every society, even
though some societies are more free than
others. Propaganda is used by authoritarian
regimes to attempt to control citizens; propaganda
is advertisement, not education.”

Rhea Penaflor, a journalist from the Philippines
and active participant in educational
programs all over the world, suggests that
“anywhere you go or whatever you read or
see can be propaganda. This is just everywhere.
However, we can make a conscious
effort to resist it or not. But what is important
is being able to know its underlying
principle. Propaganda is not a bad thing. It
still gives people the opportunity to choose
what their ideologies are. In the end, they
will be the judge.”

Ayman Elsherbiny, collaborator of Bibliotheca
Alexandrina in Egypt and a TFAS
alumnus, echoed Penaflor’s position: “Nowadays,
I don’t believe that this kind of propaganda
still has a great impact on people. We
live in a ‘global village’ thanks to internet,
new media, and new technologies in communication.
People are no longer recipients.
The Journalist
Instead, they are active consumers of information;
it is like a two way communication
process.”

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2009 in Guest Writers

 

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