“The ‘Music for Peace’ amendment authored by Congressman McCaul authorizes the newly created US International Communications Agency (USICA) to collaborate with private sector for-profit and non-profit entities to highlight programming content, including music, that promotes peace in countries facing high levels of terrorism or other forms of religious, ethnic, or political violence,” the statement said on Thursday.
"Music can promote peace in the face of terror,” McCaul said in the statement.
The amendment was added to a bill unanimously passed by US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday to improve the effectiveness of US public messaging to foreign audiences.
The legislation will reorganize the structure of the Broadcasting Board of Governors into the new US International Communications Agency, housing the Voice of America, TV/Radio Marti and the International Broadcasting Bureau.
A non-federal agency, the Freedom News Network, will host US radio broadcasting, including Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
McCaul cited the recent case of an Iraqi cellist, who came out to play after a car bomb in Baghdad drawing a large audience. He said the case demonstrated “the importance of highlighting music and other forms of programming content that promotes peace in places like Iraq, which are so desperate for it.”
US efforts to promote music in other countries as a means of creating social and political change have been mixed. An Associated Press investigative report in December 2014 found USAID had used Cuban hip-hop groups to foment a change in government in the island country.
The report noted USAID’s secret program was “amateurish and profoundly unsuccessful,” doing more harm than good as Cuban authorities interrogated and detained unwitting musicians in the secret program.