A Progress Report
|Disseminating the Statement||Page 4|
Dissemination of the Seville Statement on Violence to the mass media began on the day after it was completed at a press conference at the University of Seville. In addition to good coverage in the Spanish press, a story filed by the local Associated Press stringer was published widely including throughout the US.
To coordinate dissemination of the statement, a newsletter was established and it was agreed that I would publish it in the US where we expected to have an easier time obtaining financial support. Three or four numbers have been published each year and have been sent to an expanding mailing list now over 300 people in over 40 nations. (Readers are encouraged to write to the author if they wish to be included on the mailing list of the newsletter. Back issues are available.)
We agreed upon a short-range and long-range strategy for dissemination: in the short range to obtain as many organizational endorsements and publications of the statement as possible, especially by scientific bodies; and in the long range to seek formal adoption and dissemination of the Statement by an appropriate international body, preferably UNESCO. In the words of Seville signatory Federico Mayor Zaragoza, we sought to develop a 'snowball effect" of support and publicity.
In addition to the networks of Seville signatories themselves, we obtained the assistance of several other networks to spread the word of the Statement. The following have made outstanding contributions and deserve recognition: the ad hoc working committee 'Psychologists for Peace' that had been established at the Acapulco meetings of the International Union of Psychological Science; the Psychologists for Social Responsibility of the US; the UN Committee of the International Society for Research on Aggression; and the Research Committee on Peace and Conflict Studies of the International Political Science Association.
An especially concentrated effort was made to obtain the endorsement of the 65,000 member American Psychological Association (APA). Many people contributed, but particular mention should be made of the leadership of the Psychologists for Social Responsibility who consistently supported the Statement at each step of the multistage endorsement process.
The APA endorsement was used as the basis for further publicity. In 1987, a press conference was organized at the AP A convention in New York City where the endorsement was finalized, and over 400 press releases were sent out. Despite these releases, telephone calls, and personal contact with reporters in the press room, only four reporters showed up. They were out-numbered by APA presidents and past-presidents, not to mention representatives of other endorsing organizations. The four reporters were hardly a random sample: the APA Monitor (house organ of the Association), TASS from Moscow, ADN from East Germany, and the People's Daily World of the US Communist Party. All four gave us well-written publicity, but they did not reach the audience we sought. One major news service told me on the telephone: 'Your Statement is not newsworthy, but call us back when you find the gene for war.
(continued on next page)