The Australian 'Dateline' program celebrated its 30th year on the air in 2014. Former '60 Minutes' reporter George Negus contributed its success to "the video journalism aspect...because it allows us to have an intimate style of journalism. There are things video journalists can do that a normal television crew couldn't do. It's very strange. We're one of the few western countries in the world where video journalism hasn't been taken on board. At the Newsweek conferences I went to in the early '90s people were talking video journalism then...In its early years it was probably sophisticated home movies stuff and I think everybody recognized that. Now (2009) nobody would ever suggest the quality of pictures, the gathering of sound, the editing is any lower than any other program around."

One TV news producer made the point, "My view of, let's say of television news and current affairs, is that it's essentially an exploration for transgression. But there are certain norms and values which bubble away inside society and news and current affairs is looking for point which they cut across, broken. The reason you go to commercial television is because the values and norms which they deal with are fairly unproblematic ones. They don't raise Christians about culture, they don't raise Christians about class, they don't raise Christians about gender - all the points of major structural issues in Australian society. We don't deal with those questions."

Jana Wendt believed, "I think that there is a danger that if the world shrink to one homogenous image of what information is, what values are implicit in the packaging of that information, then you know you will have a diminished community." 

George recalled, "If I go to the Middle East I interview Shimon Peres for instance. I talked to Tony Blair earlier this year (in 2009). I went to Islamabad and talked to Pervez Musharraf. I talked to George Soros in Oslo. I always go somewhere not just for the sake of it but because something's occurring there. I don't think we ('Dateline') see the world in quite the same way...I think the program's become more issue oriented and the 'VJs' fit into that. They (the reporters) know that rather doing a story just for the sake of it, it's usually part of the broader issue. Whether it be asylum seeking or the droughts and famines of Africa. They now see themselves as doing a story which is a microcosm of the issue. In early years they were just interesting stories for their own sake. There's nothing wrong with that but the program's matured. We now see ourselves as international issue-based, not just story-based. Global warming, global financial crisis, our friend Obama in the White House, the emergence of China and India, the whole fact that the Middle East conflict has not been resolved which means most people have dropped off covering it and we don't. And there's Africa which people ignore to a large extent, which we don't."

In 2002, Jana interviewed Tahmeena Faryal who was a representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

Jana: Thank you very much for agreeing to speak with 'Dateline'. You've asked us to conceal your identity. Why?

Tahmeena: In Afghanistan and Pakistan, for about 25 years (say since 1977), we have always carried our struggle and activities, including humanitarian projects, in secret. And, because I am a member who is based in Afghanistan or in Pakistan and one day I will go back to my country, I cannot show my face and have to be very careful as any other RAWA member.

Jana: So what information are you getting? For instance, what are living conditions like now for women in Afghanistan?

Tahmeena: We get information that often are not reflected by the mainstream media. For example, currently (in 2002), under the Northern Alliance or the interim government, what is really happening in Afghanistan...the people often think in other countries that women of Afghanistan have been liberated, that they have taken off their burqas, that now they can have a job, they can get an education and the situation has changed a lot than how it was under the Taliban, which is not true. We don't see any difference between that time and now. Women are still preferred to remain under their burqas and not to go to school or continue their jobs.

Jana: Well, is this a question of an interim government under Hamid Karzai, who's only been there for a very short space of time - is it a question of his not being able to move on issues like this or, or what? How does RAWA see it?

Tahmeena: From our point of view, the main question or the main problem is simply the Northern Alliance as another form of fundamentalism that we had from '92 to '96 and it doesn't matter that some of their elements might have been replaced by others, but they represent the same ideology, the same mentality, which is anti-women and anti-democracy, culture, civilization, education...Democracy and equality for men and women or, simply, safety and security in Afghanistan cannot be possible with any brand of fundamentalism in power, and Hamid Karzai must realize that what he says cannot be put into practice when he has been strongly surrounded by the Northern Alliance commanders and leaders. 

Jana: Are you saying that equal rights for women are impossible under a Muslim state?

Tahmeena: No, we, we don't believe that, but we strongly believe that, as long as any religion, not just Islam, is being used, or rather misused, as a tool, it would become a violent tool, and the people of Afghanistan, at this point, would say that they do not want the same type of Islamic government that they have had under the Taliban, that they have had under the Northern Alliance from '92 to '96, because they experienced what happened to them under the name of God and Islam.  

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