Judy Milestone is the former Senior Vice President of Network Booking for CNN, having previously held positions as Executive Producer and Director of Research. In 2003, she was selected as a member of the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World for the US Advisory on Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. A consultant for PBS and Turner Broadcasting, Milestone is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Women’s Forum, the Atlanta Press Club, and the International Women’s Media Foundation.
In 2004, Milestone joined a panel discussion on the role of broadcasting in public diplomacy, evaluating government efforts and their and successes. Hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Selling America conference brought together many government professionals and media officials to discuss such topics as Alhurra and Radio Sawa, two government-led broadcasts directed toward the Middle East.
Milestone discussed the need to reconsider Al Hurra’s mission and means of capturing the minds of the Middle East. She noted:
“Exporting the message of democracy through state-run television is probably not the most effective mechanism. In a democratic system, the press should be a check on the government, not its cheerleader. In places with a long history of state-run media, that role of the press is more difficult. The public U.S.-run government broadcasting must never seem one-sided; otherwise, the credibility of our message deteriorates.�?
In a February 2004 discussion forum, Milestone further reported on the critical problems with the broadcasting transmissions:
"The receiving public is wary of “being sold on something they didn’t need to buy.�? Milestone stressed that both Al-Hurra and Radio Sawa are state-run and therefore may not be as successful as hoped, given traditional Arab mistrust of government media outlets. She repeatedly emphasized that “more control�? means “less delivery.�? She cautioned that although the Arab public is interested in American programming, they are not necessarily interested in programming that is under tight US government direction. Milestone added there is not sufficient funding allocated for public diplomacy at the moment in any case and that small amounts should not be spent on “brickwork programs."
Publications, Articles, & Commentary
- Selling America: How Well Does US Government Broadcasting Work in the Middle East? – AEI, May 11, 2004.
- Engaging the Arab/Islamic World – Next Steps for US Public Diplomacy – Public Diplomacy Forum, Feb. 2004.
PbWinter 10:45, 28 Jun 2006 (PDT)