NATO Plans New Attack on the Taliban – On YouTube

21 10 2007

It took a while, but the coin finally dropped. Even the ultra-conservative NATO has realized that the battle for hearts and minds is in the social media. The Toronto Star reports that NATO is making a sharp policy shift and declassifying video long considered too risky to make public and preparing to put it on YouTube.

Addressing a Copenhagen gathering of insider delegates, including a sizeable contingent from Canada,  Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said NATO is “frankly in the Stone Age” when it comes to many aspects of public diplomacy.

“When there is an incident in Afghanistan, the Taliban are quick to say there have been high numbers of civilian casualties. The wires pick it up, then the TV stations, then the Web,” Scheffer said. But by the time NATO has investigated, checked the results and passed the information through its approval system, “our response comes days later – if we are lucky. By that time, we have totally lost the media battle.”

The issues will be picked up again in a meeting next month in the Netherlands.

“The Taliban is making videos every day and NATO is not on TV,” Senior NATO spokesperson James Appathurai told the Star. “The Taliban has websites. We don’t have websites, certainly not an effective Afghan website.

Sources say NATO will put new emphasis on Web videos, including the declassification of images previously thought too sensitive to publicize, and place a premium on fleet-footed communication, possibly using rapid-reaction teams to mobilize when Taliban-conceived falsehoods hit the press.

“This is a turning point because now there is consensus that NATO needs to do much, much better at communication, first and foremost with video,” said Appathurai.

“We need to be on YouTube.”

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21 10 2007
My Personal “Keep Me Up To Date On The Top News” blog » NATO Plans New Attack on the Taliban - On YouTube

[…] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerptThe Toronto Star reports that NATA is making a sharp policy shift and declassifying video long considered too risky to make public and preparing to put it on YouTube. Addressing a Copenhagen gathering of insider delegates, … […]

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