Public Diplomacy: A Justification

Public diplomacy refers to sovereign countries’ activities and programs by which they communicate with the public in other countries. Usually this means public diplomacy interests and foreign policy goals. One of the most effective and common tools of public diplomacy is radio broadcasting, especially shortwave broadcasting. Although it is often assumed that ethically responsible public diplomacy via international broadcasting requires impartiality and objectivity, I will argue that partiality is not a problem for broadcasters who are engaged in public diplomacy. Partiality does not conflict with high journalistic standards. The widespread assumption that international broadcasters should strive for objectivity and impartiality in order to comply with journalistic ethics is based on a misunderstanding. Accurate, balanced and fair-minded newswriting is possible even when a journalist has a clear political message and a specific understanding of social justice. At least in principle, broadcasts of very different public diplomacy radio stations can be equally justified.