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» The Middle East conflict, highly complex as it is, seems ceaseless. A 'dialogue of cultures', especially with the Arab world, is on many countries' public diplomacy agenda. Quite a number of such attempts have been discarded as blatant propaganda or have failed otherwise. The following article investigates possible roles of public diplomacy as a mediating factor in that conflict, taking an elaborate theory of dialogic communication as its starting point.
Oliver Zöllner:
A Quest for Dialogue in International Broadcasting:
Germany's Public Diplomacy Targeting Arab Audiences

Published in:
Global Media and Communication, Volume 2 (2006), 2: 160-182.
ISSN 1742-7665.

Link to the journal issue here.
Link to the article's digital object identifier (DOI) here.


This article analyses German public diplomacy efforts via international broadcasting to the Arab world post-9/11. After defining the field's major relevant concepts and models and pointing out the conceptual convergence of public relations and public diplomacy, the article presents a critical analysis of the requirements of dialogue drawing on Habermas's (1984) Theory of Communicative Action. For the time being, the question whether Germany's broadcast public diplomacy in the Arab world is based on 'dialogue', as has been posited by main protagonists, needs to be answered cautiously. What is visible is a determination of Germany's international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), to at least present a quest for dialogue as a projection of the country's national values, policies, self-image, and underlying myth. The invocation of 'dialogue' via DW may reflect a reassertion of the very self-image Germany feels most comfortable with—that of the Openminded Society of Consensus as a grand narrative of that country.

Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi).

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