David Barsimian- Journalism is not a dying art.

David Barsamian is an Armenian-American radio producer, author, lecturer and the award winning founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent weekly series based in Boulder, Colorado. He is the author of several books, including Propaganda and the Public Mind: Conversations with Noam Chomsky; Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire andThe Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting. His recent works with South End Press include The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile: Conversations with Arundhati Roy, and Louder Than Bombs: Interviews from The Progressive Magazine.

David Barsimian is a dynamic and witty speaker as well.The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its “Top Ten Media Heroes.” Barsamian lectures on U.S. foreign policy, the media, propaganda, and corporate power in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, India and Europe. He is also the winner of the ACLU's 2003 Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism.

AR presents information and perspectives that are ignored or distorted in the corporate-controlled media. The one-hour program is broadcast on public radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and several other countries. His interviews and articles appear in The Progressive, The Nation, Z and other journals and magazines. Barsamian also lectures on U.S. foreign policy, corporate control, the media, and propaganda.As a writer, Barsamian is best known for his series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, which have been published in book form and translated into many languages, selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.

Barsamian recently visited Pakistan. His talks primarily focused on media propaganda and importance of independent media. He gave lectures on the current state of the country and how far the US has been involved. In his discussion he brings in the limelight the creation of the Mujahedeen by US President Reagan during the Cold War. They served the purpose of fighting the Soviet Union and were led to think they were a part of a holy war, which they called The Great Jihad. This piece of history is virtually unknown by common American citizens who are made to believe that terrorism is purely a component of Islam.The American Media has successfully manipulated the truth behind activities of the government.

“Mainstream media is a source of mass distraction”, was how David Barsamian started his talk at in Karachi because they provide a total crafted perception of reality and misleads the masses. Its highly self- censored and lot of filtering takes place. The media has been able to coin certain terms and virtually change their meaning to further distract viewers: Jihad, Extremism, Fundamentalist, Terrorist, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and War on Terror, just to name a few.In his lecture Barsamian stated that there are five corporations which dominate the American media and thus control what the public sees and hears and how they perceive this news. He went on the say that most Americans have no idea of what is happening in the Eastern world and even recalled that someone once asked him whether Pakistan was located near Palestine. They are unaware of the reality that theUS has an agenda in the region and is there for its own gains. It is evident in many cases such as when the US funded groups in Balochistan to enter Iran and engage in activities which would destabilize Tehran. The US has always been interested in being involved in countries with a military regime and which are strategically beneficial for them and most Americans are unaware of the damage and destruction carried out by American Foreign Policy in the Middle East and other developing countries. he also mentioned that people in the US do not know how the attack on Iraq has resulted in more refugees than exist in Darfur. It is just not covered in Amercian mainstream media.

Talking about Alternative Radio, David said that organizations like his actually looked at world isuses “more fairly” and because they were not part of large groups, they were not affiliated to any political groups. Alternative media does not carry advertising and so does not have to be sensitive to issues that may annoy advertisers. They are therefore more “independent” and subjective in their views


Aamir said...

He recently visited Pakistan? where did he lecture?
well its interesting.. i agree with what he said 'Mainstream media is a source of mass distraction'
Take the example of India Pakistan relations. very soon after the mumbai attacks when the Indian media claimed Pakistani ISI was responsible for, the Pakistani media, instead of clearing tht image, went on to show how many missiles we have and what are their ranges and which Indian cities we can target in first 5 mins!this un-needed information was in every newspaper and every channel!

i mean this is rubbish.. media should be more responsible. their job should be to show to the masses whats happening, instead of showing how they see it! most of them are just playing with peoples emotions to earn extra sponsorships!

S.I. Ahmed said...

In Karachi it was at Arts Council.

I really appreciate your reflection on the controversy which David Barsimian has shed light on. Its good to see that you are interested on issues which effect the general masses.

I believe people should have an access to genuine information rather than living in a world of manipulated facts which media censors to their advantage or because its scared to challenge the status quo. Once these facts would be unveiled, many problems related to growing fundalism and misconceptions about Islam would be dealt in a better way.

Aamir said...

i totally agree with you, thanx for sharing this information.
i mean people say this is one good thing we have received from the Musharraf dictatorship regime. Is that the media is now free to a great extent. But i think the media has incorporated in its definition to taunt, make fun and criticise the government, which ever it may be (except the all famous PTV ofcourse).

Look at geo programs such as 'Hum sub umeed say hain' and 'Point Blank with Mubasshar Lucman' at express news. They are biased! OK the government is not going much either but the media should try and bring out the best from them. Now it has come to a point that even the one who is being critisced does not care about it.Taunting and Spoofing is not effective anymore.

I mean hello, the media should be the educated one.

Aamir said...

The other day i read about this incident which i feel obligated to share here. its about how responsible media should be and how responsible the FREE media actually is ...

In a nutshell ...

A news person outside his work hours (as if they ever have off-hours - these guys always looking for a story) was prolly walking home with his camcorder on his shoulder one evening in Karachi. It was the evening when the politically motivated ethnic riots started again in Karachi last month. The reporter writes in his blog about spotting a person, appeared to have been shot in the leg, lying injured on the ground seeking help. Then the reported claims having seen and recorded a high profile minister's car (easily spottable black mercedes 2008 with multiple stars) passing the scene of the event and doing nothing to help the injured person..

The reporter also received some cash bonus and great appreciation for bringing this story to his news channel so they can invite and question the alleged minister with video evidence. I was like, "hold on".. is something missing here?

All that time, the ministers car went away without helping the injured person, the reported was merely shooting it with his video camera? Wasnt it in his moral duties to be first to help the guy to a hospital or dial 15 atleast?

I tried bringing this up in the reporters profile, after which the blog went down, apparently ... shrugs!

Strange people, with strange power at their hands with strange priorities i must say ...

I will try and find the link in my cache and post it here ..

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