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11 Comm. L. & Pol'y 1 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/comulp11 and id is 1 raw text is: 









COMMUNICATION LAW AND POLICY
Volume 11               Winter 2006               Number 1
Copyright © 2006 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.





THE SMITH-MUNDT ACT'S BAN
ON DOMESTIC PROPAGANDA:
AN ANALYSIS OF THE COLD WAR
STATUTE LIMITING ACCESS
TO PUBLIC DIPLOMACY


ALLEN W. PALMER*
EDWARD L. CARTER**

       For more than fifty years, the U.S. Code has authorized
       the federal government to disseminate messages about
       America to international audiences. For at least thirty
       years, federal law has also prohibited those
       international propaganda messages from being
       disseminated within the United States. Given the
       realities of the acceleration and dispersion of
       information flow across international borders in the
       twenty-first century, a ban on dissemination of
       information that is tied to geographic boundaries raises
       both practical and policy issues. The domestic
       dissemination ban may have outlived its usefulness and
       relevance. Further, futile enforcement of the statute
       contradicts general U.S. policy promoting transparency
       and encouraging the free and open flow of information.

  The communications revolution and the so-called death of dis-
tance have challenged many of the domestic presumptions behind
the intent and consequences of government information, including


  *Associate Professor and Director of International Media Studies, Depart-
ment of Communications, Brigham Young University.
  **Assistant Professor, Department of Communications, Brigham Young
University.

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