Arab League, Keeping up with Online Public Diplomacy

November 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today the Arab League made news. After its meeting on what to do about the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, the League’s members voted to . . .

If you wanted to get the news in English, you would have to go to news media sources rather than the source itself. The Arab League may have missed the public diplomacy boat by not having an official English language version of its actions on its website.

The Arab League’s action regarding Syria had been widely anticipated by the Western media.  In fact, the League’s meeting today was the lead editorial in the Washington Post.

The Arabic language page of the Arab League site did post the news in Arabic. So there was someone home.

Being prepared or cognizant that the media and other parties may turn to one’s website during a news event is part of the public diplomacy digital strategy. Whenever there is a major story to tell, the organization should be there to tell its story.  In diplomacy,  subtle differences matter.  Translations can be tricky.  Public diplomacy usually involves politics. And politics, by nature, are contentious.  If there is going to be different versions of a story, better to have one’s version up prominently. Or, at least as an option.

The Arab League did hold a press conference immediately after the meeting of its members and announced decisions against Syria. The press conference was covered live by Arabic stations and by Al-Jazeera English. After the initial announcement was made, Al-Jazeera English broke away into c commentary by a reporter.

Today, updating ones websites should matter as much as holding a press conferences to announce the news.  Online audiences matter. Now that I think about it, for those who may have missed all the action that went on today, having a video of that press conference on the site might not be a bad idea either.

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