Afghanistan: Apr ‘09

Countrywide training workshops draw journalists from remote provinces into the IWPR reporting network.

Afghanistan: Apr ‘09

Countrywide training workshops draw journalists from remote provinces into the IWPR reporting network.

Thursday, 28 May, 2009

IWPR Afghanistan concentrated on training in April, conducting a total of six workshops during the month.

Programme director Jean MacKenzie, accompanied by programme manager Abaceen Nasimi and local editor Hafizullah Gardesh, held the second round of basic journalism trainings in Kabul and Herat, attracting journalists from Parwan, Kapisa, Kabul, Herat, Badghis and Farah. Topics covered included: working with sources and story types, with a focus on features.

The training sessions ended with a discussion of possible topics that journalists might be able to cover; in the ensuing weeks, they were much more active about proposing and producing stories.

Radio trainer Louise Miner worked with trainees from Kabul, Parwan, Kapisa, Ghazni, Wardak and Logar in two week-long workshops in the Kabul office, before traveling north for two weeks of training for journalists from Balkh, Jowzjan and Faryab.

Trainees learned the basics of radio journalism, and were introduced to the equipment and techniques needed to edit stories.

Gardesh, who is an experienced radio actor as well as a veteran journalist, assisted Louise in the training sessions, helping the journalists record their packages, instructing them on breath control and voice modulation, as well as the more nuts and bolts aspects of radio journalism

By the end of the training session, all participants were conversant with the radio production process, and were able to put together sample packages to demonstrate their mastery of the techniques.

The considerable amount of time given to classroom training cut down on the production of stories, but those reports that did come out broke new ground.

The Occasional Taleban brought news from Farah, a remote province on the border with Iran.

Due to the instability of the area, very little is known about Farah, but one journalist from the Herat training group has been able to pull aside the curtain and provide insights into the workings of what is becoming an increasingly unstable region.

The story told of young men who worked as day jobbers for the insurgency, attacking police checkpoints for the equivalent of 4 US dollars, or providing other services normally associated with committed rebels.

Also in April, IWPR provided the back-story to a military operation in Kunduz during which five men were killed, IWPR Probe Challenges US Account of Kunduz Killings.

The US military, who conducted the operation, insisted that those slain were part of a terrorist network, but IWPR conducted extensive interviews with officials and villagers in Imam Sahib, producing quite a different picture of the case.

According to witnesses, the men were civilians, all but one was unarmed, and two were shot in their sleep. Four men were taken away, and no further information has been released about their whereabouts.

Veteran IWPR reporter Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi assessed Afghan reaction to US president barack Obama’s much-vaunted new policy for Afghanistan, Hopes and Doubts Surround Obama Afghan Strategy.

While support for the new US president remains strong, many are sceptical about his overall plan.

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