Tuesday, October 18, 2011

U.S. Works to Rejuvenate Afghan Journalists

Some American universities are working with universities in Afghanistan. Their goal is to fund American students to train there and to establish free press in Afghanistan.

The point is to flourish journalism in Afghanistan. The problem is journalism is dangerous in many countries still, including Afghanistan. Sending American students from universities like Ball State University and University of Arizona could be beneficial, but the question is will the opportunity be worth the risk for students?

San Jose State University and University of Nebraska in Omaha each received $1 million grants last year for the same program. Sending American students from the universities with grants this year Ball State University and University of Arizona could be beneficial, but the question is will the opportunity be worth the risk for students?

The U.S. is also providing a media operations center for each partner university in Afghanistan — basically outfitting buildings with TV and radio stations and installing miles of fiber optic cables to establish Internet access, said Jim Willis, a NewsOK blogger who is involved with the Ball State project.

“The State Department's interest in this is that if the media is allowed to grow and flourish in Afghanistan, they will be able to highlight more of the things that the government is trying to do for the people,” said Willis, an Oklahoma native with family still living in Midwest City. “That kind of thing would undermine the propaganda being put out by the Taliban.”

Whether it will work is anybody's guess. The country's infrastructure is not up to the demands of a mass media as we know it, Willis said. The mountainous terrain interferes with television signals, and the breadth of the country and political realities make distribution of newspapers difficult. Internet access is not widely available, and connections are slow. Radio is perhaps the most effective way to reach people.

Read more about the dangers of journalism in third world countries and the proposed teaching curriculum by clicking here.

No comments: