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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Gordon Brown is playing tough

November 29, 2009 Leave a comment

British prime minister Gordon Brown put forward his Afghanistan strategies during the Commonwealth summit on 28 November. Afghanistan president Karzai now faces bigger pressure from international communities, particularly, from the US and UK who contribute the most troops in the country.

Mr. Brown’s statements were made in an imperative tone, a rare phenomenon among world leaders.

Within three months, our benchmark is that the Afghan government should have identified additional troops to send to Helmand province for training.

Within nine months, President Karzai should have completed the process of appointing 400 provincial and district governors.

Some 5,000 additional Afghan troops should be sent to Helmand province to be trained by British forces stationed there.

A shameful president

Despite sitting in the No. 1 chair in Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai is not treated as head of a country. Brown speaks to him as a father sets rules for his child.

Karzai made so much efforts, even cheating in elections, to ensure himself a second term as Afghanistan president. He should be humiliated for neither pooling enough domestic support nor winning respect from his overseas counterparts.

Strong Brown

Gordon Brown, meanwhile, is pretentiously playing tough to gain points for himself and his Labour party.

The ongoing Iraq inquiry again stirred up the noiseness that UK is a poodle of US. This might cause Labour party’s support ratio to decrease. Brown needs to demonstrate himself not another poodle of the US like his predecessor Tony Blair.

This is proved again on 29 November when he told BBC that Pakistan must do more to “break” al-Qaeda and find Osama Bin Laden.

“If we are putting our strategy into place, Pakistan has to show that it can take on al-Qaeda.”

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Learn from BBC news

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

On Wednesday 28 October, an explosion in a crowded market in Peshawar in Pakistan killed over 90 people and injured more. BBC journalist Orla Guerin reported the story, and below is what I observed and learned from this video clip.

  1. The warning text at the beginning served two purposes: one was to alert people about coming “graphic images”, and the other  was to, most probably unintentionally, lure people to keep on watching. It is human’s nature to be curious about uncommon phenomena.
  2. The journalist didn’t waste words on elaborating the images. Images themselves told the story, such as ruins, smoke, flames, injured people, shouting, running, and so on.
    The first line “Chaos and carnage returned to Peshawa, shops ablaze and lives destroyed.” set the best footage for the chaotic scene. The journalist didn’t describe what was there in the images; instead, she provided information that images couldn’t tell, e.g. location of the explosion, a burning shop that had already been ruined.
  3. Sentences were loosely connected. That pause left time for images and sound that dragged audiences into the story by providing on-site experiences.
  4. “Locals tried to find survivors, then this.”–destroyed buildings collapsed. This was the power of images. In newspaper, all you could say was “As locals tried to find survivors, destroyed buildings suddenly collapsed, roaring dust chasing people who sprinted for lives.” Well, newspaper journalists undoubtedly could tell the scene a thousand times better than I did, but they still couldn’t defeat the live images. This was  a big moment. Lucky for the journalist, though disastrous for the suffering people.
  5. When it came to Hillary’s press conference, it was obviously post-production work. Even the size of the images were different. I guess Hillary’s images were from news agencies.
  6. No interviews. People were busying saving lives. The journalist could have someone before the camera to express their sadness and anger, but that would be inappropriate. Maybe she did, maybe not. I don’t know. This was an issue of ethics.
  7. Piece-to-camera on the top of a fire truck. That’s the privilege you get when you work for an influential media organization.
  8. Altogether there were about 18 shots. They came in various formats: fixed camera images (11, symbolised with – ), tilt down(2, + ), pan(2, & ), and track (3, * ). These different formats, together with various time allocated for every shot, provided a comfortable watching experience. Using above stated symbols, the clip was presented in the following way: – – – + – & * – – + & – – * * – – –
  9. Hillary’s soundbite was 15 seconds long, and the journalist’s ptc 20 seconds. Typical standard.
  10. The journalist used plain words, even for verbs. Except for “shops ablaze and lives destroyed” in the first line and “then this” before the collapse took place, there were not many “listening-to-me” words, as Wynford said in his book English for journalists. The journalist did say “coffins were rushed in…” but the images didn’t show that. Check for yourselves. There were places that could be improved. For example, “A rickshaw brought this man to hospital.” In fact, the rickshaw left the second when the man got off, which showed how urgent things were going on out there.

This is a great piece. There are so much for me to learn. I need time to watch news, but I need more time to study them in order to learn better.

God, please give me more time.