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On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times published graphic photographs of US soldiers posing with corpses and body parts of suicide bombers in Afghanistan, spurring a criminal investigation and condemnation of the activities by US government officials. The unsolicited photos, taken two years ago, were given to The Times by an anonymous soldier who said the photos demonstrated “a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops,” the article said.

After being shown the photos before publication, however, Pentagon officials such as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked The Times not to publish the images, citing the potential risk of inciting violence against US troops by forces in Afghanistan, Poynter reported.  

Ultimately, The Times editorial staff decided publishing the pictures was in the public interest, though the paper delayed publication as per request to allow the military time to increase protections for the soldiers shown in the photos, the article said.


Gianna Walton


2012-04-19 18:15


The U.S. Agency for International Development's new project is turning to cell phones to disseminate news in an unstable country with a tradition of low literacy.

According to NextGov, the initiative, called Mobile Khabar (meaning mobile news in both Dari and Pashto) is a mobile phone service that aims to provide Afghani subscribers with free customized daily news reports. When the system is running, the reports will stream radio broadcasting from local and foreign radios, as well as newspaper articles read aloud.

The initiative is good news for developing media. Mobile phones have become an integral part of reading and sharing news in the West, and focusing on the mobile to spread news means that more Afghanis will have access to independent news sources regardless of their location.

Much has been said about how cell phones are effectively "crowd-sourcing" journalism, as citizens that witness news can now take pictures, videos, and send tweets to bring attention to an event. The Afghani project is far off from turning Afghanis into ad-hoc journalists - internet access and smart phones, as well as technological know-how would be necessary pre-requisites. However, it is one of the first initiatives geared towards making media relevant for all citizens.



Florence Pichon


2011-07-08 13:14

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