WASHINGTON, DC: The tanks have moved out of Kosovo, but the PR forces are still a long way from finishing their task.
WASHINGTON, DC: The tanks have moved out of Kosovo, but the PR
forces are still a long way from finishing their task.
The United States Information Agency (USIA), which played an integral
role in communications efforts during the war, has been charged with
coordinating an Internet communications project through which returning
citizens can find information about their families. Through the program,
computer equipment - originally donated by private companies to refugee
camps - will be installed in seven centers to allow Kosovars to tap into
databases and find family members.
’The USIA has pioneered ways of using the Internet for international
communications,’ said the group’s Leslie High. ’This is a chance for us
to do this on a different level.’
The crisis in Kosovo continues to present challenges to the USIA.
According to High, the agency has felt a need to ’keep a close eye on
what the foreign media is saying’ and provide information to overseas
During the fighting, daily audioconferences were held involving about 20
US embassies. These conferences featured press officers detailing what
was appearing in the local media, reporting on new polling data and
reviewing statements made by government leaders. The goal was to allow
US press officers to better ’explain U.S. policies to those in other
’Face-to-face meetings were impossible and e-mail was insufficient,’
said High. ’Virtually every call facilitated information coordination
that could not have been accomplished otherwise.’
While these daily conferences have ceased, government officials,
reporters and scholars overseas are kept informed about other US
policies and issues through weekly audioconferences and videoconferences
with experts in the United States.
According to High, U.S. embassies make requests for an expert in a
particular field to discuss issues with targeted audiences in that
country. The goal, he said, is to get experts in the US to interact with
key foreign audiences.