An Overview of the Afghan Media Review: Opportunities and Challenges to Peacebuilding
There is no depth in Afghanistan's very lively media sphere. Recently, before completing my book on Afghanistan, I tried to interview some people inside and outside the country. Each time I contacted people in the media sector, they asked me which TV or radio station was represented. The most important and effective media in Afghanistan is extremely oral. "In an extraordinary way," however, I would recognize the same condition for other nations, but a much higher level for the media and culture in Afghanistan.
In this context, there are many articles and programs in the Afghan media. Yet, little is done in producing scientific, extensive and impartial studies to give a clear picture of what is going on in the Afghan media. Therefore, the media assessment report in Afghanistan may be the most reliable study of the media in Afghanistan since the release of Seraj al Akhbar a hundred years ago. I even think that sometimes Afghan authorities are referring to this report when deciding on domestic media.
The study was completed in 2009 and 2010. The first author, Eran Fraenkel, is an expert and instructor in metrics and evaluation. The report says it has done a lot of work in the media. His first co-author is Emrys Shoemaker, a strategic and development communications specialist. He has worked with a number of governments and the United Nations, as well as international and local NGOs in the Middle East. And finally, the third author Sheldon Himelfarb, who is the associate vice president of USIP and the executive director of Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding Innovation Center. Although the report says they are very experienced with their work, unfortunately their profile on the Internet is poor and our relationships are hardly found on the Internet. With some existing availability I tried to contact them, but the links were invalid or they did not respond to me. I left a message in the media, conflict and peacebuilding at the Innovation Center, but I did not get the answer.
The reason for the relationship between authors and sponsors was to get more details on how this work was done, as there are currently methodological problems and ambiguities I will describe.
The first issue of the test is sampling. Sampling is important, even when searching for in Afghanistan, it becomes even more important for all researchers to develop a well-structured sampling strategy. This study does not contain any tables of respondents' details. In a society like Afghanistan, different patterns in different cities in the same city give different and sometimes conflicting answers. At present, and without examining these details, it is difficult to check the reporting methodology.
The second problem deals with the methodology of raw data analysis, here are deep interviews. Only categorized them? Or are you trying to design a frame in which the pieces gather to help make a big picture? Here too, all judgments are almost impossible.
The third problem concerns local colleagues. In Afghanistan, there is a fragile agreement between the ethnic groups that they do not provoke each other. Still, in this rivalry some do not dare remain impartial. People can be academics, but at the same time discursive soldiers of their ethnicity. In this sphere, local researchers often attract foreign researchers to benefit a certain group. When foreign researchers are Western, it becomes increasingly important for local colleagues to win their hearts and minds. They know that the texts are important in the West and how the reports can affect policies that directly and indirectly affect the ethnicity of Afghanistan. Thus, the small change in the fieldwork team is completely different.
The fourth problem also applies to local colleagues. The massive work that was reported in this report was mainly made by Afghan colleagues. Where are their names? From a ethical point of view, every researcher's name appears in the report. Yeah, they've been paid for them, but that's not enough.
The fifth problem with this work is the lack of contextual knowledge about the subject under consideration: culture in Afghanistan and the media. There are many examples.
Many respondents, both within the media sector and under indicated their own and wider public opinion of Iran's negative impact on Afghan media relations. Iran's influence is that support for sympathetic Afghan media financially supportive ("the Shi'a" media) and the opening of cultural centers that distribute videos and other Iranian Iranian materials send Iranian radiation and printing materials to Afghans on the border crossing (Page 11).
Here, the authors can not see that much of Iran's cultural influence in Afghanistan is not a political one. Historically, Iranians and Afghans have many cultural features, and because of the geographical continuity of cultures, the exchange of new communications technologies has accelerated. Another reason for the enthusiasm for Iranian cultural products is their value. Undoubtedly, Iranian cultural products are much closer to what they call "high art", compared to Indian and Pakistani cultural products. So discipline determines how to get in Afghanistan and with whom. The ultimate cause of Iranian cultural influence in Afghanistan is the Persian language. This is the main language of people in Afghanistan and people enjoy the programs produced in their language. Persian language is also very important, as it is the language of many elegant writers and poets.
Based on our experience, the Iranian political system has an extremely ineffective presence in Afghanistan's cultural sphere. In Afghanistan, I did not find a man who would say that he once referred to Iranian cultural representation.
Let's see another example of poor knowledge of the social context: Respondents noted that trained Afghans, especially those who voluntarily or unwittingly returned abroad, often face hostility with alien ideas. Rather than welcoming their community with their educational outcomes, returnees often wear the Khariji label (page 14). Practically, Hazaras experience more in any other ethnic group of society than such discrimination. For other nationalities, the situation is much better. For example, Kabul University adopts a number of faculty members who have lived abroad, but in most cases rejects the Hazaras.
The sixth problem is the value of the results. Yes, great work has taken place. But if an Afghan communications and media scientist were asked for the same question, they would give the same answers, without spending tens of thousands of dollars.
And lastly, despite a number of deficiencies and problems, most of the statements and statements of the report are true based on the media in Afghanistan and people's knowledge. The authors have to thank their Afghan counterparts for doing such a good job. And Afghanistan has to thank the author for carrying out such extensive historical work. I hope the same study will be repeated soon, considering my point.