Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Afghanistanization of TV

“Maybe Afghanistan is not so different from other places,” said Muhammad Qaseem Akhgar, a prominent social analyst and newspaper editor. “People watch television because there is nothing else to do.”
- "Amid War, Passion for TV Chefs, Soaps and Idols" by Barry Bearak, The New York Times, Aug. 1, 2007
I thought this quote from an Afghan newspaper editor was spot on. Isn't that the real reason everyone watches television, anyway?

I guess that says a lot for me, since I've lived without watching TV the entire summer (save while I'm working, but mostly what's on are Red Sox games), and I couldn't be happier. ... Though I do miss the occasional Food Network show ...

I also especially enjoyed the last few grafs of the story, in which the head of Afghan TV station Tolo TV remarks about the correlation between democracy and TV.

“It has been quite odd,” said Saad Mohseni, Tolo’s chief. “This is Afghanistan, a young democracy, and we don’t have problems with the drug dealers or the Taliban or even the local populace. Our problems are all with the government, either because of red tape or attempted censorship or someone with a vested interest trying to extract money.”

He paused for effect.

“With democracy comes television. It’s hard for some people to get used to.”

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