In the era of social networking, visual media are still the most powerful tools in shaping and influencing public opinion. This media working group, convened at the 2011 U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Washington, DC, was composed of insightful academic and business leaders, media experts, and public diplomacy practitioners from throughout the United States and the Muslim world. They sought to identify new initiatives to promote greater visual media programming to redress cross-cultural misunderstandings between the United States and global Muslim communities.
The working group analyzed and explored new opportunities to change the discourse that exacerbates stereotypes. One of the contributing factors identified as promoting these erroneous stereotypes is editorializing in news reporting, which tends to reflect the tense relationship between the United States and the Muslim world. The working group also explored how nonprofit media initiatives can play a positive role in shaping public perceptions of the “other,” while acknowledging that the nonprofit sector is limited in its capacity because of financial restrictions.
This paper takes the debate a step further by analyzing the media landscape through a practical lens, and by asking how partnerships can be developed to leverage public-private initiatives to promote a more open environment that can correct stereotypes and lead to better understanding. The working group participants also came up with other platforms to challenge preconceived notions and put forward a series of recommendations that address issues related to methodology, market calibration, and media training initiatives. The full set of recommendations is presented at the end of the paper.
"There are concerns that placing the [Israeli] embassy in Jerusalem would be a sign that the United States recognizes it as a part of Israel's sovereign territory, even though the position of the U.S. over the last 70 years or so is that Jerusalem is actually disputed territory, and that the status of it will have to be resolved through negotiations."
"I would be surprised if the State Department interpreted the Jerusalem Embassy Act as requiring it to break ground on a new embassy facility or take other such steps. The plain language of the statute only requires that the secretary of state determine and report to Congress that the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened."
"While positions within the international community vary, most foreign states have—like the United States—declined to take a position on who has sovereignty over Jerusalem and instead favor either negotiations to resolve this issue or international administration."