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Broadcasting to Afghanistan: A history of the BBC Pashto Service

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This paper traces the history of BBC World Service (BBCWS) broadcasts to Afghanistan and the political struggles that led to the establishment of a Pashto language service to complement BBC broadcasting in Persian. The complex linguistic, ethnic, and tribal diversity of Afghanistan makes providing appropriate and relevant news, and an information service in the right language, accent, and idiom for Afghanistan, a daunting task. The paper analyzes the relationship between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the BBC, and the impetus behind the launch of a Pashto service for Afghans. It also explores the tensions between providing impartial news and engaging in communications for development purposes.


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