tv Discussion on International Broadcasting CSPAN January 5, 2016 12:29am-1:38am EST
everyone in this room, david ensor former director of the voice of america. he's had an extraordinary career of npr and abc news before poa. since boa he's been a partner in a fellowship where he developed a report which you see on the harvard web site and he's going to bring us a summary of it today so david the floor is yours. [applause] >> thank you very much. the question is will the mic be loud enough? if anyone doesn't hear me, if anyone doesn't hear me please let me know because i will speak louder. i can do that. i used to do it for a living. it's nice to be here today and thank you very much for coming out. my print colleagues used to
complain about a newspaper headline writer who would exaggerate the contents of their articles in create an attention grabbing headline. i'm afraid the title of this talk may frankly be in that category. the headline given to an article i recently published based on this paper it makes a promise of more wisdom than i probably, than any one of us in the room has certainly and certainly more than i have. at least maybe it helps that you have come here today so perhaps it's achieved its purpose. also the headline writer chose the term information war. my friend dean of the fletcher school says he thinks the war of ideas is asked why the concept is the war on drugs and he says we need a marketplace of ideas which present positive alternatives and not just the negative side of radical islam. he is right of course. so i do not have all the answers
to how washington can win the information war or prevail if you prefer the marketplace of ideas but i would like today to try to offer you some thoughts on a road forward from the perspective of someone who as was mentioned on it to have led the voice of america for four years to have worked in public diplomacy and afghanistan for 16 months before that an embassy and who served the nation as a broadcast journalist for 30 years before that. for starters, we need to face facts. we will not do well enough in this arena and kelly take it more seriously. it's clear from our recent history in iraq and afghanistan and elsewhere that america cannot prevail globally with hard power alone but the nation's capacity to participate meaningfully in the global context of ideas has been allowed to decline in recent years even as the information challenges we face grow and change. in a world where vladimir putin
weapon isis information and brick terrace recruit on the internet the united states has no one in overall charge of its information efforts. it has cut the budget for diplomacy and spending in real terms on exploiting honest journalism. as most of you know when the u.s. information agency was disbanded as a peace dividend at the end of the cold war public diplomacy efforts were moved to the state department across the street and international broadcasting was put on a bipartisan boy. let's start with the advocacy side, the public diplomacy side of that equation first. since 1999 when this happened it has suffered quite frankly from weak budgets and excessive leadership turnover. understandably perhaps unfortunately public diplomacy tends not to be valued at the department as highly as conventional diplomacy. frankly in the digital age i think that way of thinking is out of date.
in recent weeks both president obama and hillary clinton in the democratic candidate and former secretary of state have called for american technology companies to help the government prevent terrorists from using social media and the internet to propagandize and recruit. there is a holds no debate about it encryption tools and what's the proper place for our country on the scale between security and privacy. that's a big complex talk and it's not the subject of my talk today but i simply mention it this front burner issue two underscore the nations need for full-time sustained leadership in the area of information. there's a counter messaging aspect of this too. the state department has a 5.8 lien dollar effort to counter us is recruiting on line. the work is critically important but frankly the effort is much too small. so it may be just as well as in
the upcoming defense authorization bill the pentagon is given permission to launch a bigger effort of its own. going forward however maintaining civilian control and high-level coordination will be key as well strong partnerships with our allies in the region. in fact i believe the actual efforts web site chat rooms and social media should only be done by air partners in the region and not by washington. of course there's much more to public diplomacy than countering isis on the internet. what one of the most effective efforts in afghanistan and i served there an embassy with our effort to strengthen the afghan media. with highly successful. we and others including the british government did a lot to make the media sector in afghanistan strong and meaningful for the country.
that sector along with others faces some new challenges that the taliban takes that territory and as investment from overseas is reduced. it's going to need some continued support. we can't just leave it. one of the most powerful ways to protect american values and help our friends around the world is to export the first amendment by broadcasting journalism. because the united states is one of the relatively few nations around the world where there is no state or a tester on the air few americans realize the voice of america is actually one of the most influential media organizations on the planet. in november voa -- voa parent company issued -- the past four years voa's audience has grown 40% to almost 188 million people
a week. they listen to, watch or read voa on everything from shareware. to salve the light television from smartphone apps to facebook and twitter. this robust growth has come despite budget cuts in real terms. how can nine busy people run a large complex collection of companies as a part-time activity? >> bt has had difficulty playing and executive decision-making role. it is not helped that the white house and the senate have less
seats unfilled for long periods of time. fortunately chairman beebe p. chairman jeff shown the current board understand the structural problems and what to do with it. they rightly want to get out of the business of running u.s. broadcasting once a month. the appointment of a full-time executive officer for u.s. international media is an excellent first step in my view. what is needed is a full-time professional boss but john lansing this season media manager in that role now now needs legislation giving them clear authority over all budgets and all personnel. unfortunately there is a bill currently before the house of representatives which i must amend it could make things worse the current draft of h.r. 2323
would create yet another board in yet another ceo to oversee three of voa's sister agencies radio free europe radio free asia and the middle east broadcasting network. so now there would be two separate and competing u.s. civilian broadcasting efforts. they would be a needless duplication of oversight and management layers. it would also exacerbate an already unhealthy rivalry over funding and marker or old between the radio free and voice of america. furthermore the bill has language ordering voa to cover only news related to the united states for u.s. policies. that would be a poison pill. it would be a recipe for declining audiences. instead of confrontation and divorce as is proposed in h.r. 2323 what we need is a model of collaboration between voa and
sister organizations. we need more projects like the russian language tv show current time which was created after the seizure of crimea. the show had anchors the washington and prague and was coproduced by rfp and voa seen on 29 stations in nine countries and almost 2 million russians inside the federation are able to download it, to stream it off the internet or see it on satellite television. neither rfp or voa could have done this project alone. it takes collaboration. i would urge those interested tape take a look a bill on but your representatives and senators know what you think. i understand there's an argument being made in recent days by some radio free alumni that somehow it might not be acceptable for even legal for
federal ceo to oversee the independent grantees. the point of this john lansing is not administration federal appointee. he was chosen by a bipartisan board. he is protected by a political firewall that the bbg represents and i think accountability is a full-time professional with oversight of the whole effort would be good for everybody and good for our country. let me turn for a few minutes to what i think is a key question in our fast-changing media world. what should voa and its sister entities be? in the digital world with a capacity of voices were broadcasters like rg paddle this information is journalism them at the old-fashioned goes up object davidian balance? is a still dancer or is it time to advocate for government policies as many of the newer state ride casters or already doing.
this is not a new debate. then we visited many times since voa's founding as a the history of voa tells us. once again in recent years a number of influential voices have called for voa to be a full-throated advocate of american policy rather than a journalistic enterprise. for this research paper that i've been working on for the last few months at harvard i took a look at the two models in the marketplace. comparing voa and the bbc world service with newer channels that advocate and spin for their governments. with data on russia's already, china's cctv and the coverage by al-jazeera arabic of the events in places like egypt and how that played out for them. if the goal is to seek to influence public is strategic places around the world that i would say the evidence is pretty clear.
influence is a difficult thing to measure but rest assured without measurable audience we will not have it. already for example claims the worldwide breach of 700 million people. that claim is deliberately misleading. the russians are using potential audience reach as the metric. in other words every single person who sits underneath a satellite which has the signal on it or who has a paddle -- table manual hunters of stations available counted counts of that 700 million. no one in the business uses that metric. it is meaningless. what professionals measures actual audience. this but the -- voa is based on careful polling as is the bbc world wide audience of 300 million people. after the shooting down of a
malaysian air jet over the ukraine the media reported on a mounting evidence that the weapon used was russian-made and could have been fired from a town held by russian backed rebels. already in those early days crank out a new theory on who could have been responsible for practically every news cycle. maybe it was the craniums trying to shoot down president putin's plan. maybe it was the cia conspiracy. if the goal was the goal was confusion the approach may have been partially successful but if the goal was credibility with lots of people, not so much. while already is not put up detailed facts and audience estimates there are numbers out there. in the u.k. for example in may of 2013 when the ukraine story was hot, rt was -- had about 120,000 viewers.
as the coverage became increasingly one-sided and shrill that number dropped pretty year later it was 90,000 less than two tenths of 1% of the u.k. viewing population. the united states rt claims is the -- solid audience that does not make public data to back that claim up. two years ago nelson press official told one reporter that rt's audience was too small to be measured. china's cgt be in the multiple billions of dollars has poured money into broadcasting in africa get the results also appear to so far have been relatively disappointing. for example data gathered from the bbg from kenya should be 2% of kenyans watching a local town called citizens tv 70% watching "cnn" 7% watching the bbc and 2%
watching cctv in that market at that time. nietzsche put al-jazeera arabic move to heavily biased content in favor of the muslim brotherhood it lost a substantial share of its audience very rapidly through some newer egyptian channels but also to bbc arabic. so some are not sure the americans would be good at propaganda anyway but after looking at the numbers i'm convinced of this, honesty on the air is not only the right thing to do, it's also the best business strategy for the voice of america and the other broadcasters. of course but me tell you the truth even about us. coverage of the abu ghraib scandal the partisan ferguson missouri about police killings of young african-americans, that coverage was and had to be thorough, complete. each time voa reporters explain
how this country deals with these challenges their journalism amounts to a civics lesson. that's more powerful in my view than any public agenda ever could be put after four years at the helm of voa have a lot of specific suggestions about how to impact audiences in specific markets from what we call denied areas like russia china and iran to more mature markets like indonesia latin america to key growth areas like africa. i would rather get two questions and discussion so i think i'm going to just say the points i have to make on all those markets and what can be done in my view are summarized in the paper which you can find on the web site at harvard's kennedy school of government. but briefly let me say this. we can do much more to influence our world for the better but we
will need to set up a clear leadership structure and we will need to adequately fund both international broadcasting and public diplomacy. back in 1961 president john f. kennedy recruited the same journalist edward r. murrow to advise him on information policy and to run u.s. at -- usia. perhaps president obama or his successor should hire an information adviser who similarly experienced. in the age of isis on line recruiting in our digital age is time for a country to more effectively engage in the marketplace of ideas. we should not delay. thank you. [applause] >> thank you david. we are up into your questions and comments. i see one hand. >> good afternoon.
my name is arnold and i teach journalism in china. you have mentioned russia and you mentioned isis. you have mentioned it the least afghanistan. you haven't said anything about china. i'm wondering if you can assess the impact of china in the so-called information war especially with the recent discussion by president chi inserting the factor of sovereignty into the internet. >> while china in recent years has taken the whole subject of soft power very seriously. there are reportedly having assigned a budget of over seven billion dollars to various kinds of projects and what we would call public diplomacy and broadcasting. i don't know if you have ever seen the headquarters of cctv.
one of the most extraordinary pieces of architecture and clearly not cheap. there are scores of confucius institutes that have been set up around the world. china takes a subject very seriously. they read joe nye who coined the term soft power and reach those books carefully and put them back in conversations about the matter. the problem for them is that at least in my view and you've got my resume. you know where i'm coming from, the truth is more powerful than propaganda will ever be. if you look for example, i was talking about kenya the numbers of cctv and kenya, looking at some of the coverage and talking to people that look that much more of it, the chinese were
telling their african employees who worked on the station you can't mention the name of countries that have relations with taiwan. countries in africa. they can't even be mentioned on the air or when you are doing a story about poaching in mustn't mention the demand side, the chinese demand side. so you end up with journalism that is desiccated. it isn't truthful and that's long as they don't face up to the fact that doesn't really sell all that well they are going to have a problem. they don't have to spend $7 billion to compete because our project is a better one. with that said it worries me the size of the budget,. some of my colleagues at abc and "cnn" are very good people and
with internet circumvention effort in to find a continuous effort by certain companies that are good at this to set up a work around to still get freely on to you the internet. is steady enough? no. but it means for example, there were new numbers not too long ago and the number of people in china who reached the materials weekly is well over 2 billion. a huge country that is not many but is not insignificant maybe with
more robust funding and declared this of leadership in direction we can do more than that. 2 million people is an audience worth reaching. i would not say it is not worth the money to try a to reach people through social media for that matter. that said doing that alone is not clearly a public diplomacy strategy. i am a big believer of the levers that people use. when we were in afghanistan we increase the of fulbright scholarship that brings people to our country who will have an experience forever many people know how much difference that makes
with world leaders our national leaders have that type of exchange that are deep and powerful. if the point is we should not all eggs in the social media basket i agree but we should be going faster. >> congratulations on your career. and max that was with us the day before he died how do solve a problem like donald? >> this is a man that might
become president. >> thinks for the temptation into get into politics and will forgo the pleasure. i am worried about the tone of the debate and the way it resonates overseas. people realize it gnp dash but it will get bumpier before we have a president elected. that is the thing to emphasize that in the sheets of the campaign is what is said but the next president will actually do is what matters. there is more heat than light in the campaign the the times but you're asking
me to go beyond where i want to today but thanks for asking. [laughter] >> as a very coherent in persuasive argument use started by saying it sounded like we needed it effort not a war of ideas but a marketplace a recall that coming out to use our its in in education programs something that we needed was more muscular. you seem to suggest the efforts that come out of the
pentagon, and they would be closed down is this something you argue against? >> in my opinion all that other stuff, is all part of the information for the country. and but we don't have this someone in charge of that. we should. it is a serious matter to be handled that a high-level. it is winter resources than to also the messaging the baby involved.
i am aware of the exchange student right now who is harassed to say that it is a wonderful experience to change their lives but then then he comes with a traumatic experience are read messaging the people? >> on the first half i can help much with the second half but that is very regrettable there needs to be worked on various fronts with leadership in the country to minimize the number of times that happens. most people have a good experience but it is terrible when someone doesn't but on the separation you may or may not be aware a couple of years ago congress quietly basically reflected reality the internet made an ass of
us all to be honest. the loss said on you shall not broadcast to the unit's states period. but you just had to go to a website and then you would click with the light streaming to somalia. a lot of people in minnesota were listening. what is wrong with that? congress thought so too so in recognition of reality so the amended it to say if a broadcaster asks you can offer the broadcast said of the system that can be done. so now you can hear the creole and somali and other broadcasts that are not designed for u.s. domestic consumption and not $1 is spent with the coverage that
is aimed at this country. this is the reason we need information in leadership we need to think this through. yes, the concept of national barriers is getting weaker all but time. we need to face the reality that technology is moving ahead in many platforms that we broadcast or communicate our global and don't respect the borders. the strategy should reflect that reality. and i thank you are implying it is just a number that ought to be made to make it easier to address a global audience. the somalis are also somalis as well as americans they could be influential so the goal will problem needs of global solution and i agree
with that. >> thank you. i and the retired public diplomacy officer. mentioning a couple of times overall and strong capable leadership. >> why is the profile of a leader of that effort to? should that be a whole love government toward the state department? or perhaps all entities that are a part of this information effort?
>> i feel a little uncomfortable to put my own architecture up there. better heads than mine can figure this out. i think the next president needs and information policy adviser who is in all the meetings. maybe then it is a question to have a rate structure. i talked about that at the pbgc is strongly believe for one full time boss is what they need and from the others are nervous and they're scared they will be corralled into a federal they don't belong. but i don't think that would be the problem. i think the challenge is our countries are facing are so
large in the information area we don't have the luxury of people running in different directions. we need at clearly led the effort. the radio freeze can contribute from where they are and should continue to do so under a full time professional boss who makes it work in a cohesive way. to get to where they could do that show and it is better than either network could produce by itself. it is not perfect or enough's but those efforts are possible if you have one board or one and c0 everybody pulling in the same direction. >> that is what is needed on the broadcast side all
delighted to serve in the embassy. have some views what works and what doesn't if you look at the budget when handed to the state department, it is smaller now in many years later why is that the case? if anything it is getting more important. not less the leadership needs to look closely to put a higher priority and have an undersecretary that stays we have one now this seems ready to say but there is too much turnover in that job might think. i will say that. >> thanks for your comments. i am not here speaking on behalf of the state department i enjoyed both of your pieces even a more
"in-depth" harvard peace i want to go back to the idea of new media vs. traditional media you spoke about a shrinking budget with the need to invest. what i uninterested to know is given the fact much of the next generation or the world as b.c. it is under the age of traditional media to look for news and information. new media social media platforms. can you help me to understand how or reinvesting into traditional media is where the dollars should go as opposed to accounting for current and
future information? >> if you took from my remarks traditional media is to put our eggs than i did not explain that properly. i do not believe that. i believe each market market, people used to ask me what is your overall strategy? i would say 45. which ones you want to talk about? each one is a different situation in north korea is short wave radio. bb medium wave along the border. there isn't much more that would work in north korea but russia where putin has thrown the national broadcasters off the partnerships, a completely an internet strategy is the best way to reach people on the russian federation there
is television and radio using partners also clips on youtube you need a strategy that is different for each market. in latin america when i arrived we had 3 million listeners now we have over 30 million because i don't claim credit because my predecessors thought this out we realized in most markets they have matured media they are doing news. they don't want us to do that for them but if you go to mexico to say that is a great evening news show you don't cover the country to the north. could we help you with that maybe somebody mexican born
who will cover any subject within reason? people jump at that. that is a mature market strategy that is paying dividends in ukraine believe better not and many other markets it depends where you are looking iran to northern nigeria, a very, very strong service had a solid audience in the millions and it is dying off in the use of satellite radio is dropping quite rapidly at the moment so what has knowledge a mobile dmca -- app with this stuff about america to click
on your phone the app figures out your phone if it is primitive or it will give you more. those last figures we were losing 3 million and gaining two 1/2 on the mobile app. move to the place where the market is going in the young people so face that they will be the audience for logger. and with proper funding a lot more could and should be done but it's a lot of people talk about new media as the answer to everything but the biggest our audience growth was old-fashioned television. told the media and there is a tremendous amount of growth that is still possible with traditional
media. done right it is powerful and will remain so for a long time. we have a tendency to see that through the american lines you don't want to be too far ahead of that. people's taste change or the way to consume news changes. that is why we rely on the language service to let them figure out to keep an eye and what is happening in the best way to reach people and i think we had success because we delegated those decisions to the people who knew the market's. i hope that will continue under my successor when elected.
>> i really come -- rarely come to the sessions but in the mid '70s i was working in the public soon after coming back richard davies from when i got back here the ambassador and i were invited to speak at a community gathering it must have been 80 or 81 someone said is there a lot of waste a year and duplication to have the separate agency? why aren't they folded into the state department? this was well before we were
sold but as the cold war diffident he said ibm a career state department officer and a joy in the foreign service and served a tour of duty and i assure you that is a terrible idea because the state department doesn't have the slightest interest in the programs managed by this agency. i think he was right. i think they have very little interest due in here we are to be in the center of the american foreign services association we have a problem in our own tent most colleagues don't care about the functions that we perform but david has said
there is not enough money there is even less money we need to do all of the above but it should be obvious to any different management structure. the question is when do we begin to recognize that a major problem exists with the key audience with the american foreign service? how do we get at them to have a better understanding in today's world?
>> given different parts of the department there are very different levels of sophistication about this issue. parts of this the african bureau is aware because it is considerable. i went to nigeria in the government of mali he ended be the key is. high over the city to say maybe this will help than we have all full clear signal. they saw the power of what we do it in to hear what
american journalism cell is like. and folks from the embassy totally got that. with those that are willing to have those transmitters put inside the compound in those were the only ones left on the air. so working closely with the public affairs officers around africana has been profitable for our country. i would love to see similar types with other area experts i work for the department said emigrate believer and i am a huge
fan. but they have a lot of things to do. they cannot worry what the up broadcast says. so i do agree with the underlying point there needs to be a separation. there is a lot of collaboration and cooperation that can go on with the international broadcasting to the mutual benefit. >> thanks for your presentation i was interested in what you said about russia and was struck
by the fact that in terms that the russians has been convincing the have created a confusion. but the danger now in europe to have some confusion what the life is like. in the there is a lot of fascination. and for what is to be done in europe. and what should be done now? >> i'm trying to think how i
i don't think it is beyond our government to figure out how to make sure such an entity got great sporting coverage and get programming choices. so ii would love to see us get together as we do on other issues with our allies and figure something out. the -- you know, a competitor to kremlin to the that has eye candy on it that really polls in an
audience and that tells the truth. shocking concept. but what is going on in ukraine and elsewhere in the world. so i have had conversations like this, and not all of my friends are clean -- keen to be part of the club, if you will, many people like to go it alone and have their own theories about how to proceed this is a pretty big issue command i am noti am not sure going it alone will be a successful is working together maybe. i am no longer in office. i stand appear and say what ii feel like and then doing so, which is great fun. but this is a tough matter. it's difficult. it would take leadership is something like this to happen, but i would like to see it. the station based in canada or we got or vilnius that was 247 and had programming
on satellite. the number of russians who actually have a satellite dish and would at the moment get the program is not all that large. but they are there, and if the programming was streamed on the internet you have aa decent audience, quite decent audience in major cities among young people and it will be impossible to ignore. and i think over time it could change the conversation. in ways that would be useful. so there is just one idea. that was one of the ideas in the paper. it is just a concept. there would have to be a lot of work done. to be a wealthy person to set up stuck -- set up such
a station? might be in everyone's interest. and for a long haul here. in the ideas. >> people in the room, i used to be a pao. you have talked about funding. one of the things that i look back at your career within the as that they were pao in afghanistan, you were running a team that had 3030 americans including three full-time qualified grant officers, and i don't mean forced -- 1st two people that have taken the course, and a budget over hundred $50 million. five years later could you look back -- and you mentioned some of the things that you feel good about. the things that worked, maybe the things you and
your team would have wanted to do differently but more importantly are there any lessons you learned from that experience that you would suggest to be poor funded pals who don't have a hundred $50 million and counterterrorism funding? >> it was the biggest budget ever for public diplomacy anywhere on earth. and so it was a great privilege to be there. but i was trying to do in a short timea short time is much as possible for our country to make a difference to help the afghan government and people feel that there was change in their lives. and to make them aware of the us intense desire to be helpful. you are asking me what works and what lessons i learned. it will take some years. historians will probably analyze what worked and what didn't. i think you know one thing
that worked was the program that we put -- we put out a grant. we said dear marketplace comeau we are looking for a company that will set up a social media platform for poor people basically, a simple, basic thing that you can use on your very basic phone to send messages. the way i described it was i want the kandahar fruit seller to be able to tell what price you will pay for green melon wednesday at 6:00 p.m. in the farmers they get the dirt off the screen and see the price. i want something like that to help the family business because that is what this country needs. andand none of the big four phone companies wanted to do it. they all said social messaging. you guys are all charging two or $0.3 a message. >> yeah but it is illiterate
country. >> i said i'm not so sure. well, that company command it was set up by afghan americans from northern virginia working for telecoms. it's very successful now afghanistan. in fact, when i was working i thought about and call one of the guys in the company and got them on the phone in the end mark. what are you doing in the end mark? well comeau we are setting up here. so this is a public diplomacy effort by the us state department that there is a for-profit company that did exactly will be asked to do and is now hungry for more. and going to places that also needed. that was a very successful effort. it was more popular platform that facebook in afghanistan by a long shot. it became the jobs market. it also became the willing
hearts face of up to the base of operations. the change society and some interesting ways. another -- i mean, i think bringing sesame street afghanistan was powerful that only because it teaches abc's the little kids but it teaches the mothers and fathers as well. and i thought it was a great contribution to the afghan future. we did come as i mentioned, doubled fulbright scholarships and a lot of things. we also fell our faces a number of times. richard holbrook and carl eikenberry, the ambassadors eikenberry, the ambassadors the sent you they're so we are hiring you do this because you are not
in the system,system, trying to make ambassador and can afford to take risks. so go ahead and fill and try to be more successful than not. and we did fail sometimes. we built one tower and particularly really went nowhere. we also did a lot of others that have been useful and it made a big difference. it was a mixed bag. we were in a mad hurry. the other thing i worked on worked on that i thought was important which may be relevant particularly to public affairs officers in the middle east area, it took me almost a year to convince state department lawyers and others who are rightly worried that we should be allowed to pay for programs that would take afghan mullahs, imams, mayors, and other civic leaders out of the country on programs that would allow them to meet with their coreligionists at the al-aqsa university in
cairo or in jakarta or in other places where muslims gather and be reminded what a great world religion islam is an that the narrowminded bio cul-de-sac that the taliban to push them into was not islam. so that program, once we got permission to do it, you know, doesn't here, a dozen there. you take a 25-year-old mall off from afghanistan the cairo for a week and exposing the some of the great minds of islam, and he is never the same again. it was a conversation that needed to go on among muslims. even though we had to do was facilitated.
it was greatly in our interest command i am glad we did it. i understand we do quite a few things like this now. that is a very wise spending a public diplomacy money in my opinion. lawyers were worried about separation of church and state, and we did have to work our way through those issues. we ended up finding the people were rescinding on troops as community activists. which they work. we ended up broadening the pool to include mayors and deputy mayors and others who are leaders and communities. all good. so we got to where we needed to be. it took a while, but now that we are there i would urge other public diplomacy officers to look at those kinds of programs. >> numbers just as aa close, you mentioned $150 million in afghanistan. what is the total worldwide budget? all languages, all services? >> i will be corrected, perhaps. 212 at 212 at the moment. there is a proposal for more.
212 million. >> with respect to the rest of the federal budget, it's a fairly small investment. >> i like to say it's about the equivalent of 235 jobs for235 jobs for which we are scheduled the by 2,457 in the next -- i forget, seven or eight years. so for the price of just a few cure we can have a big, powerful public diplomacy and international broadcasting program. and i would submit that you need both. we are not doing -- we don't have the some balance in my opinion. i don't know what to do about it exactly except talk about it and try to urge people.
i mentioned the build is currently pending in terms of international broadcasting. it isit is pending right now. people are deciding what version to support. the next couple of weeks it would be worthwhile. the same may be true in other areas of public diplomacy and open -- and so forth. it is important, and we should speak up. i am pleased with the public diplomacy council was vibrant and has strong leadership and has had recently, the immediate past president was wonderful. places have some spark, you know. and ii hope we can as a community, care about public diplomacy and honest journalism being one of the things that our country can offer, you know, be a little