|March 2, 2010|
|Taliban PR Beats Afghan Gov|
|By Greg Hazley|
|"The Taliban treat us better than the government does."|
No, those aren't the words of an oppressed citizen of Kandahar, or a peasant farmer near Khost. That's the claim of a leading Afghan journalist.
Rahimullah Samander, head of the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association told MinnPost.com that the Afghan government is less PR-savvy (and can be openly hostile to journalists) than the Islamist group.
Journalists are being denied information and, in a few cases, getting roughed up when trying to report on government entities in the country, reports the post.
The New York Times reported last month on the Taliban's extensive information machine which has more recently been directed at softening the image of the group among the Afghan population.
The NATO-led mission there is sponsoring media relations training for government public affairs officials to help them keep with a growing legion of media in Afghanistan.
"We want to remove obstacles and give the journalists the access they need," Capt. Heather Coyne, a NATO liaison officer in charge of the effort to open up relations between the media and the government, told MinnPost.com.
The Times said in January that the Taliban can sometimes shape the narrative about attacks before NATO public affairs even puts out a statement.
"Unlike the NATO press machine, the Taliban are willing to give details, and while some are patently exaggerated or wrong, others have just enough elements of truth that they cannot be entirely ignored," the Times reported.
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