Public Affairs

There is no doubt that enabling women to mix with men is the basis of all calamity and evil, and it is one of the greatest causes of all-encompassing punishment coming down. It is also one of the causes of corruption in public and private affairs. Mixing of men and women is the cause of a great deal of immoral actions and zina. And it is one of the causes of widespread death and ongoing plagues.

One of the greatest causes of widespread death is the prevalence of zina, because of enabling women to mix with men and walk among them displaying their finery and beautified. If the people in charge knew how much corruption that causes in worldly affairs and people’s affairs, let alone religious affairs, they would be stricter in putting a stop to it.

Ibn Qayyim, Al-Turuq al-Hukmiyyah, p. 407-408

Mountain Man by United States Marine Corps Official Page on Flickr.
Environmental Extremism and Persuasion Pt. 2

This article delves in deeper to what we call many extremist groups lately: terrorists. Some very radical groups employ the same types of violent activities that other terrorist groups use to get what they want. The author of the textbook we are using this semester, Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility, seems to assert that any type of physical action, from protests to violent outbursts, constitutes coercion and not persuasion. I wouldn’t say that is the case for protests, where the audience still has the ability to consciously make a choice. It may not be an easy choice, but a company can choose to ignore striking workers, if it wants, and still find ways to survive.  

The difference comes to the introduction of tactics that leave the other party with no plausible choice between actions. Technically, an animal lab that has been vandalized by an extremist group could ignore the violent act and continue on as normal, but how long would it last? Would people still want to work there, what is to prevent the same action from being taken again? It becomes the only safe choice to shut down the lab.  If you hear about a choice that is “life or death,” do we often hear of someone choosing death?

Not all groups that we think of as “extreme” necessarily rely on definitive coercion. PETA, for example, uses very strong, but none-the-less persuasive methods to advocate for animal rights. They don’t use physical violence, and while some of their imagery and literature may make you squeemish, you can still look away and go on with your day, if you so choose, without fear of retaliation. This is the difference between groups using persuasion, and groups using coercion.
Reporting from the Edges of the World

PAOs, and the reporters we facilitate, tend to operate in rather austere environments and finding the right equipment for these environments is a full time job in and of itself (seriously, there are 2 guys at Ft. Meade, MD doing it for just the U.S. Army). During the beginning days of major operations we are often cut off from reliable electricity and internet in deserts, mountains, oceans, jungles, and lord-only-knows wherever else we get sent. While we have systems such as DVIDS to help us get the story out, such systems are bulky and can be cumbersome when weight and speed are a factor. Alan Arnette isn’t a Soldier (never has been to my knowledge) but he is a bit of a kindred spirit in that he has blogged, photographed, reported, and generally communicated literally from the top of the world. I’ve always followed his story because I believe in his cause but also because I was amazed at how he was able to reliably communicate from places that are virtual black holes. He shares the secrets of how he did if from the tops of the worlds tallest mountains in this post from his site. While the military and professional news outlets have their own equipment and ways of doing business this seems like a great primer for anyone planning to freelance in those parts of the world that few dare to tread.

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine prepares for her swearing-in ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2012. [State Department photo by Ben Chang/ Public Domain]

Survey of Journalists Finds Public Information Officers Often Prevent the Public From Accessing Information

A chart from the Society of Professional Journalists’ survey indicates the extremely high amount of journalists who say that agency officials monitor interviews with agency employees. In fact, only 9% of journalists say that this rarely or never happens.

Public Intelligence

The Society of Professional Journalists conducted a study for this year’s Sunshine Week surveying 146 journalists who cover federal agencies regarding the role that public affairs or public information officers play in restricting the flow of relevant information to the public.

The survey found that journalists face significant obstacles in the performance of their duties due to the obstructive activities of public affairs officers. Some of these obstacles include requiring pre-approval for interviews, prohibiting interviews of certain agency employees or rerouting interview requests, and the active monitoring of interviews being conducted with agency employees.

Journalists who responded to the survey found that this obstruction is preventing the public from “getting all the information it needs because of barriers agencies are imposing on journalists’ reporting practices.”

Here’s what the survey found:

  • 75% of journalists reported that they have to get approval from public affairs officers before interviewing an agency employee
  • 70% reported that agency interview requests are forwarded to public affairs officers for “selective routing” to whomever they want
  • Almost 50% reported that agency employees are sometimes barred from engaging with interviews with the press and nearly 20% of journalists say that this is a common occurrence
  • More than 50% reported that public affairs officials monitor their interviews with agency employees either all or most of the time

More Info

The Power of The Blog in Building an Audience

In North America, the blog’s importance to society is to eliminate the control of mainstream media. People can now search and receive information, perspectives and ideas from a variety of sources instead of an elite portion of the population. On television and mainstream websites the news casters are disconnected from their audience. Through blogs people can find the perspective of others who understand them and their needs. More importantly, they can respond to it. Most people now get their news from the internet. As technology and the internet progress, those who have learned to use the blogosphere effectively will see their audiences expanded greatly

Two Women, Two Countries, Two People: A Growing Partnership

About the Author: Tara Sonenshine serves as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

There is no more effective form of engagement than face-to-face communication. That’s a fundamental principle of our public diplomacy. And thanks to a strong friendship and understanding between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf , we have just signed an important agreement between the United States and Liberia.

One year ago, this month, Secretary Clinton traveled to Monrovia to attend the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf . At the time she said, “Democracy hasn’t just sprouted in Liberia, it has taken root.”

The relationship struck between Secretary Clinton and President Sirleaf – strengthened by their own personal narratives of empowerment and their mutual commitment to changing the lives of women and girls, peace-building,… more »