The Public Sphere

Between A Rock and A Cave: The Uneven Development of the Afghan Public Sphere

Wazhmah Osman, New York University
September 11, 2011With more suicide bombs, attacks, and killings of civilians by official forces and unofficial groups of Afghans and Foreigners, cases of rampant corruption and blatant disregard of the law by Afghans and Foreigners, and a litany of other disasters associated with failed war-torn countries, everyone agrees that the situation in Afghanistan is becoming more dire. Yet the media is often extolled as the one ?candle that burns in the darkness? . Of course, the media generally and television more specifically have also been described as ?addictive like opium? and ?uncontrollable like Satan? by their opponents. In a country where the vast majority of the population is illiterate and access to computers and the internet is limited, television has become an especially powerful medium. No wonder then that hopes and fears about the future of Afghanistan from TV executives to government officials, religious leaders, and international governmental and non-governmental consultants are being funneled into the medium.

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Covering Afghanistan: Video of conference roundtable, May 2011

Conversations on Afghanistan

David Rohde with Colby Smith

David Rohde (NYT) speaks with Colby Smith (Brown`13) about how different editorial practices, reader expectations, and his own capture by the Haqqani Network affects reporting on Afghanistan.