Posted: 24 Aug 2010 Print Send a link
A typically funny P.J. O'Rourke essay, although it has sort of a Huckleberry Finn ending.
Radio Azadi deserves all the praise that O'Rourke heaped upon it. He, however, made no mention of Radio Ashna, VOA's service to Afghanistan, in Dari and Pashto eight hours a day on the same medium wave and FM frequencies as Radio Azadi. Unless Radio Ashna is one of the "other media" that are "insensitive to religion or culture."
In the "days before Radio Azadi," the BBC Afghan Service was not the only outside medium. The VOA Dari and Pashto services were active during the Taliban rule. In fact, a 1999 survey of Afghan males showed that 80 percent of them listened weekly to VOA. VOA was rewarded for this success by the creation, in 2002, of Radio Free Afghanistan, local name Radio Azadi, under RFE/RL.
(Also before Radio Azadi, during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, was another Radio Free Afghanistan, 1985-1993, under RFE/RL, supporting some of the people that the present Radio Free Afghanistan opposes.)
Surely the deafening silence about VOA Radio Ashna can't be attributed to lax reporting. O'Rourke used the words tribe or tribal about 45 times in his article. US international broadcasting is also tribal. By way of the O'Rourke essay, praising Azadi and ignoring Ashna, the Azadi tribe stole a few of the Ashna tribe's PR points. The fraternal entities under the Broadcasting Board of Governors support, commend, and congratulate each other, and wish each other to jump off a cliff.
See previous post about P.J. O'Rourke's visit to RFE/RL in Prague.