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The Zorinsky Amendment

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Instituted in 1985, USC 1461-1a--popularly referred to as the Zorinski Amendment after its sponsor Senator Edward Zorinsky--instituted a ban on domestic activities by United States Information Agency. The full text of the amendment is as follows:

"Except as provided in section 1461 of this title and this section, no funds authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States, and no program material prepared by the United States Information Agency shall be distributed within the United States. This section shall not apply to programs carried out pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2451 et seq. ). The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the United States Information Agency from responding to inquiries from members of the public about its operations, policies, or program [1].

In calling for the amendment, Senator Zorinsky explained that:

"By law, the USIA cannot engage in domestic propaganda. This distinguishes us, as a free society, from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.

There is considerable discussion within USIA about using the Agency's so-called second mandate to engage in domestic propaganda. The second mandate -- "telling America about the world" -- has never been implemented. It should not now be implemented as part of a USIA strategy to propagandize the American people on foreign policy issues.

The American taxpayer certainly does not need or want his tax dollars used to support U.S. Government propaganda directed at him or her. My amendment ensures that this will not occur." - Senator Edward Zorinsky [2]

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