The BBC speaking to the Taleban
Last Thursday, the BBC World Have Your Say radio programme built their show around a discussion with a Taleban spokesperson. Through the BBC’s Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, and a translator, listeners from around the world could put their questions to the Taleban.
There was much debate on the programme and on the World Have Your Say blog about whether the BBC should be giving the Taleban this sort of platform.
The conversation brought back memories (not personal ones I should point out) of discussions in the United Kingdom about whether the media should speak to the IRA and other ‘terrorist’ organisations during The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Recent research has demonstrated that the Taleban have been developing a more sophisticated media strategy in an attempt to win support in Afghanistan and precipitate an end to foreign occupation. Frank Gardner was impressed with the Taleban spokesperson’s performance:
“It was a really interesting insight into their media machine because I thought he was pretty slick actually.”