Insight From the Lesser Travelled World
Sometimes a breath of fresh air comes from a source so unexpected it really does astound. Yet it is a depressing wonder why something so simple and honest cannot emanate from the West?
But there it is. An Afghan blog (sadly not updated since ’07) concentrating on issues of Herat and it’s hinterland – publishes reports submitted from various news agencies around the country. What I am so impressed by is the simple addition of a ‘description of source’ footnote to the bottom of any external piece. Contrast that with Western media treatment of current hot potato the Gaza Strip, where any random eye-witness appears to be taken at face value and any opinion an authoritive one.
[Description of Source: Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto — Peshawar-based agency, staffed by Afghans. The agency used to have good contacts with Taliban leadership; however, since the fall of the Taliban regime, it now describes itself as independent and self-financing. OSC IAP20071006950019 Peshawar Afghan Islamic Press in Pashto 1916 GMT 06 Oct 07]
By my reckoning the BBC would do well to provide such explanatory warning notes with a good proportion of it’s foreign correspondents! Tribal Afghanistan is a complex society whose divisions at first seem obvious but as more is learned what was black & white becomes ever greyer, something we have a taste for in NI too. At least some of their press seem to know how to see the wood from the trees.