Iran's culture ministry criticizes Iranian website for Q&A with US diplomat.

Posted: 09 Apr 2012   Print   Send a link
AP, 4 Apr 2012, Ali Akbar Dareini: "Iran’s Culture Ministry on Wednesday sharply criticized a conservative news website that offered Iranians a chance to pose questions to a Farsi-speaking spokesman for the U.S. State Department, who would then respond. The alef.ir website posted a notice Tuesday saying readers could pose questions on the site and that U.S. State Department spokesman Alan Eyre would respond to them. It took down the post late Wednesday as authorities stepped up criticism. Eyre speaks fluent Farsi and has become the new public face of the United States to many Iranians and Farsi speakers who are able to watch Farsi-language news outlets. Eyre has already conducted interviews with foreign-based media outlets such as the Farsi language programs of both the Voice of America and the BBC, but responding to alef.ir would have been the first ever contact with an Iran-based news website. ... Dozens of people submitted questions Tuesday hours after the website wrote 'Alan Eyre responds to questions by Aelf visitors.' ... The Culture Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that there is no justification for the website to allow a U.S. 'intelligence officer' to respond to questions by Iranians."

Federal News Radio, "In Depth," 6 Apr 2012: "E-diplomacy is one area in which the State Department is taking a leading role, but not many other countries are following. Fergus Hanson, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of polling at the Lowry Institute, discusses the definition of e-diplomacy and State's growing online presence. In a Lowry Institute analysis, 'Revolution @ State: The Spread of Ediplomacy,' Lowry writes: 'In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms.'" With audio interview.

Al Arabiya, 6 Apr 2012, Guy Golan: "The Obama administration has time and again expressed its commitment to genuine relationship building with Muslims around the world. Through social media, it launched an ambitious multiplatform public diplomacy campaign that allows for direct two-way communication between the State Department and Muslims. Through videos and blogs, Facebook pages, and mobile phone applications, America can now both talk and listen. It seems like technology is reinventing the very essence of international relations. Yet, recent evidence indicates that launching a successful public diplomacy campaign via social media may be easier said than done. An innovative global digital outreach campaign was recently introduced by the U.S. State Department. Their campaign allowed citizens from across the world to ask Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, questions in ten different languages using the #AskUSA Twitter hashtag. This campaign turned out to be a bust. Most of the tweets consisted of either spam or communication from American officials from outside the USA. Yet, the American State Department should not let one failed effort deter them. All relationships both off and online take time to develop."