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Brittany Kohls

Simple freedoms not typically seen as monumental or impressive in the United States differ greatly from those elsewhere, Mohammad Shafiq Wardak and Abdul Rasoul Sayeed, two professors and journalists from Bamiyan, Afghanistan, said. They have spent the last three weeks in the United States in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, a sister city of Bamiyan, where they have had numerous opportunities to experience what America has to offer, as well as teach Americans about the struggles people face in Afghanistan. Relations overseas arent as peaceful as they are in the United States, Wardak said. Afghanistan has been in a state of war and overall turmoil for the past 30 years. Wardak explained that how news is broadcast, along with the content of the news itself, can be a huge issue for those in charge of collecting and reporting information. In the United States, facts are easily obtained, and generally not too hard to come by. Wardak said there are many limitations where hes from. Most of the time, first-hand information is not readily available, and if it is, one must be extremely cautious so as to not cross lines or step on toes because of the Afghan government Wardak said. In the United States, its relatively easy for a journalist to come up with a topic, gather information, and formulate a story. On the contrary, Afghan stories are generally created as agendas focusing on the personal interests of government officials and warlords who monopolize the market Wardak said. He also pointed out that if views within a story or broadcast dont coincide with those of the warlord or other official, it wont be allowed, therefore making most media one-sided. Wardaks passion for journalism came from a difficult life, growing up during a time of constant war with images of death all around him. He believes highly in education, and realizes

that the Afghan people need to be aware of their surroundings, as well as attuned to the problems within and around their country. Unfortunately, the population of Afghanistan is 80 percent illiterate, making it even more difficult for journalists to stand with their cause, he said. Conflict and war are themes that have to be dealt with regularly if the people are to stay involved, he said. Reporters and journalists alike are expected to go into the field and do their best to gather information regarding their surroundings. Wardak explained that because war is a part of life, safety isnt always an option. A lot of journalists are lost in the field, and usually if they go into dangerous territory, they arent expected to return, he said. Even with these risks, Wardak and Sayeed are dedicated to their cause and wish to spread the word.