ABC News on Andijan – Not quite right.

by Bertrand on 8/25/2006 · 4 comments

One of the reasons there is such a lack of understanding of Central Asia and countries like Uzbekistan may well spring from the shoddy reporting on the region from the mainstream media. Case in point: an ABC news report entitled “Top Five Least Known and Most Oppresive Leaders.” The report names Uzbekistan’s President, Islam Karimov, among the top five, along with Turkmenistan’s
Saparmurat Niyazov.

The report was brief and superficial – devoting approximately one paragraph to each of the five “nominees.” More startling, however, was the caption accompanying a photograph of citizens of Andijan looking at partially covered bodies lying on a street:

Residents of the the Uzbek town of Andijan look at bodies of the victims of clashes between government forces and local protesters on display in the central square on May 14, 2005. Eight activists had mounted a rare public protest two days earlier in the Uzbek capital Tashkent to mark the first anniversary of a bloody crackdown against unrest in the eastern city of Andijan. Human rights organisations and witnesses say 500 to 1,000 people, mostly civilians, were gunned down by security forces in Andijan on May 12-13, 2004.

This caption makes such a muddle of things it is almost impossible to sort out. The “bloody crackdown against unrest” in Andijan took place in May of 2005 – not 2004 – as the caption states. Therefore, whatever is depicted in the accompanying photo, it can’t be marking the “first anniversary” of something that took place that day. There is no telling what is being referred to in terms of “eight activists” staging a public protest two days earlier. In short, the caption is so convoluted it makes a total hash of things. It’s so bad I get confused even trying to comment on it. This sort of reporting from an organization like ABC News is inexcusable. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon.

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Laurence August 25, 2006 at 8:58 am

Bertrand, Is this report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or American Broadcasting Corporation? If the latter, it may be based on a recent PARADE magazine article along the same lines…

Nathan August 25, 2006 at 9:03 am

It’s American BC, and I think it’s something all together different. They did it in cooperation with Human Rights Watch.

PS – It occurs to me that perhaps it was hard to see the links in the text. I’ve changed the color so it should be easier now.

Laurence August 25, 2006 at 11:45 am

Well, if indeed it’s coming from Human Rights Watch we’re lucky ABC didn’t list Bush, Blair, Chirac, Merkel, and Olmert as their top 5…

Bertrand August 26, 2006 at 4:02 am

It’s the American Broadcasting Corporation for sure. Whoever or whatever the original source, the caption is just a total botch job. Aside from being completely inaccurate, it simply doesn’t make sense.

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