How I laughed as an Afghan official took out the mainstream media

Roshan Muhammed Salih in Afghanistan recounts the ritual humiliation of a western mainstream journalist at the hands of an Afghan official in Kabul today.

This morning I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing a western journalist lectured by a Taliban official about journalistic ethics.

I won’t name the official or the journalist to spare them both from embarrassment, but the encounter was just too good not to put pen to paper.

The Taliban official was unfailingly polite but he was firm and eloquent in his speech. He basically told the western journalist that he shouldn’t tell lies about the country by looking for “sensationalist headlines.”

He gave the example of a recent CNN report about an Afghan family selling their daughter to avoid starvation which Afghan media says is false. He also mentioned several other examples of western media reporting intended to demonise the Taliban.

Naming the western journalist’s nation, he said they had enacted numerous Islamophobic policies but the Taliban wouldn’t be interfering in that country’s affairs. He added that foreign journalists were welcome in Afghanistan and were free to report how they wished as long as they did so responsibly and didn’t contravene Islamic red lines.

The western journalist took exception to some of his comments and said that his organisation had reported all sides of the story in Afghanistan – to which the Taliban official simply smiled.

But he couldn’t resist taking one last pop at the journalist, asking him if he would be travelling to a location which is the base of a well-known Taliban opponent so that his country could continue “its love affair” with him.

I was sitting quietly observing this exchange and laughing to myself inside, but I couldn’t resist telling the Taliban official that 5Pillars wouldn’t be telling any lies while we were reporting in Afghanistan as our values are Islamic ones. He responded by telling me that he normally doesn’t give interviews but would definitely give one to me!

I recount this story for two reasons – first, because it is very apparent that the Taliban believe the western media have a pre-planned anti Islamic Emirate agenda despite the fact that they have treated them well.

I think the reason for this is obvious – western reporters are just paid agents of their own nation states and will basically parrot their paymasters’ line and will cherry pick the facts to suit their narrative.

And western nations are furious that their occupation has been ended by the Taliban and that they have had to leave the country defeated. They are also furious that their so-called “liberal-democratic-capitalist” project has failed and that Islam is now the supreme authority in the land.

Secondly, it was just great to see the western media taken down a peg or two.

I don’t know the work of the particular journalist I met today so for argument’s sake he just represents “western journalism” to me. And in my experience western journalists working for big organisations are among the most arrogant people on earth; they think they are better than everyone else and that they know best. They truly believe they are on some kind of civilising mission when in reality they are just pawns in the hands of warmongers, colonialists and capitalists.

As a reporter with over 20 years experience I have seen far too many Muslim officials fawn over the western media despite the fact that they stitch us up 24/7. After all, this is the same mainstream media that beats the drums for war and occupation in the Muslim world and demonises Islam and Muslims at home and abroad.

So how refreshing it was to see a Muslim official finally standing up to the biggest propaganda and fake news industry the world has ever seen.

You can follow Roshan’s reports from Afghanistan here.

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