Public Diplomacy, Media and Human Rights

Authored by: Amelia H. Arsenault

The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138665545
eBook ISBN: 9781315619835
Adobe ISBN:


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Public diplomacy (PD) commonly refers to efforts by nation states to engage, inform and ­influence foreign publics in service of foreign policy goals. Particularly since 9/11, states and multilateral organizations at all ends of the geopolitical spectrum have taken a greater interest in PD activities, which range from exchange programs, to international broadcasting, to social media outreach. The relationship between public diplomacy, the media and human rights is complex and multifaceted. This is because old and new media systems are a critical conduit for PD about human rights issues and the subject of PD campaigns advocating particular normative conceptions of the human right to receive and impart information. Moreover, ‘promoting human rights’ has become a catchall rationale as well as a tagline embedded in a range of disparate PD activities. To fully explore these dimensions, this chapter unfolds in three separate but interconnected sections. First, it explores the theory and practice surrounding PD and human rights. Second, it examines how the media activities of advocacy organizations have complicated human rights PD. Finally, it examines the evolution of PD surrounding freedom of expression and communicative rights.

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