US Withdraws Staff From Afghan Government Media and Information CentreDecember 29, 2011
Seasons Greetings to everyone. A very quick break from the holiday blogging hiatus to flag this story from the Wall Street Journal – The US has withdrawn staff from the Afghan Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC) apparently because they don’t like what it’s communicating – it’s being used by the Afghan government to criticise the US.
The story encapsulates a lot of issues about the role of ISAF in Afghanistan, the desire to build Afghan government capability and the role of government communications and leaves you wondering whether you should laugh or cry. In the context of counterinsurgency communications capacity is crucial.
I particularly enjoyed the line: “It’s not supposed to be a propaganda arm of the government,” said a Western official. Funnily enough the name suggests that precisely what it is supposed to be and why it was set up…*
*of course this all turns on how you define propaganda.