Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Public Diplomacy

According to the definition of public diplomacy it is the political knowledge of America. To promote the good things about America and represent it to other countries. In my opinion the television show ‘Friends’ is a good example of public diplomacy. The amazing creators are David Crane and Marta Kauffman. The story between six friends and every day social life. The actors who played in the sitcom are :

Jennifer Aniston
Rachel Green (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Courteney Cox
Monica Geller (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Lisa Kudrow
Phoebe Buffay (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Matt LeBlanc
Joey Tribbiani (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

Matthew Perry
Chandler Bing (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

David Schwimmer
Dr. Ross Geller (238 episodes, 1994-2004)

In this series there is a lot of political undertones relating specifically to public diplomacy. The theory is shown by the use various techniques giving opinion on what America thinks about other counties like Russia. It also gives underlying opinion on different faiths including Judaism, Catholicism and various traditions like “Thanks Giving and Christmas”. It is really worth to watch.

Public diplomacy really is ‘soft diplomacy’ and looks to persuade but unlike propaganda it uses subtle subconscious techniques.

The reason I’ve mentioned friends is because Communist dictatorships such as North Korea would see a TV show such as this as pure propaganda and would think it was created by the American capitalists to spread their agenda and disrupt the communist rule, therefore taking the power away of the dictatorship, which of course is what a dictatorship fears most. Loss of power.

So one country’s propaganda is another country’s Public diplomacy!

To illustrate the point, even recently it was widely reported that the North Korean dictatorship told it’s citizenry that North Korea won 3-0 against Brazil in the world cup, when, in fact, they lost. Could this be viewed as Communist Public diplomacy??

Out of the two, I know which type of public diplomacy I prefer.


  1. Some interesting and pertinent points here. You are right that promoting a positive image of a country through popular culture is often more effective than state-directed attempts (and the US is lucky that it has a culture that travels well). But are TV programmes that happen to be broadcast around the world really a form of public diplomacy? They may boost the soft power of the US, but unless the State Department plays a role in promoting the programmes, is it really public diplomacy?

  2. TV programmes sometimes promote a positive image of the country. Public diplomacy is a soft power and the sitcom “Friends” has been made in America and produced by Right/Kauffman/Crane productions together with Warner Brothers Television.

    It was produced for the NBC channel and with NBC being the 1st network in America with the American government sanctioning its formation, by default, the State Department promotes its public diplomacy through such programming. It is a good and smart idea to show their country in a good light and make the tourism business work.

    However, I think because Public Diplomacy doesn’t have a true definition it lets everybody have their own opinion. My opinion is that Public Diplomacy has nothing to do with politics.

  3. Media are very important for Public Diplomacy. However, in this blog was presented only one TV programme and very little was presented about Public Diplomacy.
    I personally sometimes watch "Friends" because it is a funny programme, good for relax.
    You could present more examples of Public Diplomacy in media and better explain Public Diplomacy.

  4. Janko, in my opinion i think it is Public Diplomacy. At the end of the day its represents soft power of United States. And i only used this as one example because i thought it was a good measure of popular culture and therefore could be viewed as Public Diplomacy, expecially by certain countries.