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BAFFLING BANTER: Foreign journalists discuss American news media

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International journalists in the U.S. State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program who were visiting Marquette joined the Tribune to discuss American news media.

Bektour Iskender, founder of Kloop Media Foundation in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for citizen journalists and bloggers: “I think the biggest difference between the U.S. media and, for example, my country Kyrgyzstan, is that here, the content of media is very localized.

“I was really impressed because we were in D.C. and I switched on the TV and mostly saw the news which was D.C.-related; same with the newspapers.

“The present age of news, of a national scale and especially of international news, is quite local. Then we came to New York and there we got New York-oriented news.

“I think it has its advantages and disadvantages.

“The advantage is that the population is really aware of what is going on in their community and their district.

“And this is something that we don’t have in our country.In our country, people might know much more about international news.

“They might know much more about the conflict between Russia and Georgia, for example, but they might not know what’s going on in their neighboring district.

“I think people (Americans) don’t know a lot about what’s going on in the whole world, but they know a lot (about what) is going on in their city. Maybe it’s nationwide.

Appaji Reddem, senior correspondent for The Economic Times in Hyderabad, India: “Media in general, the remarkable difference I could find is that there’s a lot more transparency here.

“When you want some information from officials, you can get it. You can ask, and the official feels accountable or feels obligated to give you the information, which is not the case in our country.

“For example, I’m very closely following Madoff’s case in the financial scandal. At the same time, we (in India) had a scandal involving $1.7 billion dollars.

“I was just comparing both of them. Madoff’s case was very quick the way it was taken up by the media and the way the public responded is excellent.

“It was solved in no time. And the person was taken to task.

“If you compare it to the Indian situation, first of all, the media could not get the information on how the fraud took place.

“Where were the loopholes? Who was involved? The entire system, that financial system is involved in that.

“So even today, the person, though he was arrested, is in the hospital. He’s allowed to come out to the public.

“So that way officials have concealed some information. Whenever you ask them for information, they say, ‘It’s under investigation, we cannot give you information at this point in time.’

“This is a big burden for us, which is not the case for America.

“Though I do not say the U.S. system is excellent, wonderful, everything’s going great. Just today, I saw on the news the people involved in Madoff’s case are comfortably placed.

“So people, human beings, are the same everywhere. But here the system is a bit more mature.

Tabinda Sadiq, executive producer of Jaag Broadcasting Systems in Islamabad, Pakistan: “News media is strong here. I’m amazed at how the students are trained …

“But I believe American media is not reporting about certain regions which are considered very important to the U.S. State Department, like Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Greece.

“They’re keeping their citizens quite isolated in terms of not letting them know what’s going on in these countries in detail.

“Almost everyone in America knows there is a war going on, but how many of you know there is a war going on in Pakistan also?

“I’m not saying keeping informed about the U.S. is something bad, but at same time they should give information to citizens like international news.”

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