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Register of the David James Webster Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: David James Webster papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1989-2001
    Collection number: 2004C5
    Creator: Webster, David, 1931-
    Extent: 6 manuscript boxes (2.5 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Correspondence, reports, and memoranda, relating to post-communist era radio and television broadcasting in Eastern Europe.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], David James Webster papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2004.


    Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

    Biographical Note

    1931 January 11 Born, Taunton, England
    ? Attended Taunton School and Ruskin College, Oxford
    1953 Joined British Broadcasting Corporation in the World Services News Department
    1958 Moved to British Broadcasting Corporation television
    1967-1969 Editor, British Broadcasting Corporation television public program, Panorama
    1970 Assistant Head of the Television Current Affairs Group
    1971-1976 Representative of British Broadcasting Corporation in the United States
    1974-1975 Chairman of the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
    1977-1981 Director of Public Affairs, British Broadcasting Corporation
      Member, Board of Management, British Broadcasting Corporation
    1981-1985 Resident director, British Broadcasting Corporation in the United States while retaining his seat on the Management Board in England
    1985-1987 Resident Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    1986 Returned to England to become Controller, Information Services and concurrently, Acting Secretary of the British Broadcasting Corporation
    1987-1992 Senior Fellow, Annenberg Washington Program on Communication Policy Studies
      Director, Annenberg International Disaster Communications Project
    1988- Founder and Chairman, Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on European Broadcasting
    2003 August 6 Died, Washington, D.C.

    Scope and Content Note

    The David James Webster papers consist of correspondence, reports, and memoranda relating to post-communist era radio and television broadcasting in Eastern Europe. Webster created the Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on European Broadcasting in 1988 to realize his goal of introducing democratic ways of broadcasting in former Soviet bloc countries by helping them enact new legislation and establish new infrastructure with regulatory bodies. The papers are focused on Webster's activities with this organization, though some records of the Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on Broadcasting and the Information Society are also included.
    Conferences, programs, seminars, symposiums, projects, and official missions to different countries were the tools Webster used to accomplish the goals of Trans-Atlantic Dialogue. Of these tools, the hypothetical seminars, based on role-playing and free and unscripted discussion by participants of issues involved in the democratization of broadcasting, are well documented in the TRANS-ATLANTIC DIALOGUE ON EUROPEAN BROADCASTING OFFICE FILE.
    Of all the projects undertaken by Webster through Tran-Atlantic Dialogue, the Democracy Audit Project is particularly well documented in the papers. Its objective was to monitor the level of freedom, independence, and openness of the media, and the status of human rights. It was carried out by setting up local institutions whose role was to act as watchdogs.
    Most of the financial support for Trans-Atlantic Dialogue was provided by the Phare and Tacis Democracy Programme, which was started by the European Union in 1992 to promote democracy in the former Soviet bloc countries through economic and political reforms. In addition to material in the TRANS- ATLANTIC DIALOGUE ON EUROPEAN BROADCASTING OFFICE FILE, this organization's activities are documented in files printed from the COMPUTER DISK.
    Webster also had close contact with the Soros Foundation, which initiated and supported openness in society through independent organizations established in particular countries, such as Albania, Belarus, Crimea, and Croatia. Webster's relationship with this organization is documented in the SOROS FOUNDATION FILE.
    The FILE ON ORGANIZATIONS relates to the activities of various organizations promoting democracy and human rights, the situation in Macedonia, and the development of independent media.
    The David Webster papers were acquired in 2003.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the repository's online public access catalog.


    Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on European Broadcasting (Organization)
    Radio broadcasting--Europe, Eastern.
    Television broadcasting--Europe, Eastern.