Thursday, May 18, 2006

Iraq: The Hidden Story

Yet another example of why the BBC is arguably the best source of TV news in the 'anglosphere'. Here's a revealing documentary on how news is gathered in Iraq and disseminated in the 'Western' media. Iraq: The Hidden Story argues that 'Western' journalists have been hamstrung in terms of what they can report since they are severely limited in gathering news in person. [A poster in the comments pointed out this is actually a Channel 4 documentary and not the BBC- my bad :P Still the doc provides a fine example of why maintream British journalism actually provides a valuable service in contrast to the television news outlets in the USA]

In reality, all media outlets are completely dependent on Iraqi freelance journalists to gather information since most of the country is simply too dangerous for non-Arab journalists. Just think of it as another example of outsourcing, I'm sure they're saving quite a bit of green by relying on the 'natives' as well ;-)

What I suspect is that the US occupation forces are probably not all that much better in terms of their information gathering than the media outlets. In fact, since they are seen as the occupying force, I would imagine that in many ways they're far more limited at gathering information on the ground. Considering this fact, it doesn't exactly give one much faith that the country will be stabilized anytime soon. From the beginning the biggest problems have arisen out of 'cultural rifts' and misunderstandings. Needless to say when there's effectively no dialogue between the occupying force and population, bridging any cultural chasms is virtually impossible. This suggests that not only does the US army have very little control over the country at present, but will likely have limited ability in determining what will happen in the future as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe this is actually a Channel 4production , whose output on the Iraq war has been not biased , though not neutral in terms of political's output has been more important than that it has been objective. Google vids has other great Iraqi journalism through Channel 4's Dispatches program ( look for the real war on terror...3 parts , Iraq's missing billions , and an investigative piece as seen through the eyes of an Iraqi woman ...not so objective the last one but highly informative....all are approx 48 mins long ). Further Channel 4 news makes no apologies for reporting without favour no matter who it upsets , re. a recent item detailing war crimes by American marines killing civillians in cold blood . The channel has attacked Blair for curtailing liberties , expoused Islamic extremism , British racim etc. The BBC has done this sort of thing to a lesser extent , though it has been curtailed to an extent following the Dr Kelly affair , but there is still Newsnight and Panorama plus excellent radio programming .When the BBC does its job , it oes it well , so much so that all goverments of their day are hostile to the BBC to an extent.I am proud of the main broadcasting in the UK ( much less so the newspapers ) , even if it hurts sometimes , challenges me and occasionally makes me change or reformulate my opinions.Its one of the few things left here I like.

5:55 AM  
Blogger A. Shah said...

Oops! Thanks to the anonymous poster for that. Iraq the Hidden Story certainly does appear to be a Channel 4 program and not the BBC. Nonetheless, I still think it clearly shows that the 'mainstream' British media is doing a far better job in delivering intelligent analysis of current affairs than their US counterparts.

5:52 PM  

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