Vanessa M. Gezari on “Crossfire in Kandahar”: a CJR Podcast


Mohammad Nader weeps as his mother describes the night he was taken from their home. Image by Kathleen Flynn, Afghanistan, 2010.

The January/February issue cover story, "Crossfire in Kandahar," discusses the particular obstacles that journalists face when reporting in Afghanistan, even as the industry is infused with young energy inside the country and cash from outside it.

Vanessa M. Gezari writes: The rapid growth of the media—and expanded funding from some quarters—have not made reporting in Afghanistan any easier. In fact, journalism has become more difficult as security has deteriorated. Political alliances have grown murkier under the weak Karzai government, deepening war has muddled the international community's intentions, and militant and organized crime networks have grown fat on foreign aid. Afghan journalists are relatively new to their work, and they have been criticized for lacking professionalism. But Afghan journalists describe the world they see: a complex place, littered with overlapping, conflicting accounts. There are no reliable sources here.

In a new CJR podcast, Gezari speaks with assistant editor Lauren Kirchner about her experiences reporting in Afghanistan since 2002 and training new journalists there. She also suggests the ways that Western media organizations can, in time, help contribute to a better and freer media environment in Afghanistan.

Listen to the podcast.