Huffington Post U.S. War in Aghanistan news roundup containing this gem about information control efforts by the U.S. military regarding civilian deaths and Pakistani Taliban responsibility claims in the incident of victims of U.S. Military within Pakistan. First Posted: 04-15-10 10:57 AM | Updated: 04-15-10 05:24 PM
The following excerpt is the Pakistan segment of that Huffington Post news roundup.
The myth of war reporting in Pakistan.
A journalist who reported on the Pakistani military campaign in the Swat Valley last year discusses (see journalist's blog) "the myth of war reporting in Pakistan." He recounts how his editors had removed any mention of civilian casualties as a result of military operations, citing that "the management has told us that we can only run pro-Army stories." The military's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) restricted journalists' access to the war zone, preventing any independent assessments of the situation. It also waged a media campaign by issuing countless press releases about the number of dead militants and soldiers "martyred," excluding any mention of civilian deaths. Jerome Starkey, an independent journalist, recently accused (see Starkey's account on Nieman Watchdog) NATO forces of the same, and chastised reporters for falling victim to the NATO military propaganda machine. Starkey found that NATO had covered up an attack by NATO and Afghan forces on an Afghan family, blaming the deaths on the Taliban, when in fact coalition forces were to blame. It goes to show that readers should be critical of officially reported statistics and stories.