An article published on 13 of September 2013 defines the upcoming Afghan election in regard to the politics and candidates relation to Ahmad Shah Masood, the slain commander of Mujahidin group under Northern Alliance umbrella. The article concludes that any delay to the election by some is seen as catastrophic. “Masood was a proponent of fair election” the author adds “but some would argue he was not given the opportunity to organise an election”
In this article a key political process is defined through Masood’s perspective which is appropriate for Masood Heritage Foundation but not BBC. Although Masood’s legacy overshadows Afghan politics; influence of military leaders or of political leader for that matter remains a subject of perspective, even more so when we are talking about legacies. Some might see one of other hundred figures as influential, some might only view those alive as influential. BBC should not be using this major political event to provide a platform for coverage of Masood’s legacy. The article goes further by arguing that Masood was a proponent of election. This is inaccurate, Masood did not organise an election when he was practically running what resembled the national government neither his military wing established a national government with functioning institutions that can lay down a roadmap to election. It is not helpful to talk about a major military leader in terms of what he aspired to do instead of what he actually did; it would be unjust to those who suffered in the turmoil of Mujahidin military ambitions, to which Masood was a big part. It is indecent to dismiss civilian suffering by implying that it was delusions on their part and what actually happened was high class political discourse. I agree that BBC might want to create content about Masood’s legacy but it has to be balanced and accurate. It is inaccurate and unfair to set Masood’s legacy as the standard for election and interlink the two in an article.
A bias article reinstates the concern of a particular group consistently and throughout without a counter opinion; little attention is paid to attribution of controversial facts. Using that definition this article is bias because it puts forth consistently and throughout the arguments currently made by the successor of Northern Alliance. Given that the author of the article is a staff member of the BBC one would expect that the article is as balanced as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources. Common sense also commands to presume that such articles are being independently fact-checked by another employee of BBC. This only points out to the widespread domination of BBC Persian editorial by a political fiction, spreading opinions and interests of a particular political and social stream. I have based this argument primarily on the content of the mentioned article, two other evidence I offer in support of the claim is the consistency and spread of such articles across the board. The method for proofing the former is a look at chronological run of bias articles and the later by evaluating authoring for each articles.
A second article that was published only a month before under the title of ‘lessons of Arab “autumn” for Afghanistan’, also outlines the views of the political calculus of what used to be Northern Alliance that identify themselves as former Mujhidin. The article argues that the murders committed by the military rulers of Egypt should be seen as atrocities of secular, while the Muslim Brotherhood is the victim. The author draws a clear parallel line between Mujahidin and their current political structure with that of Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood. Hence, the argument that political Islam has been incapable of sound governance and has committed atrocities while in power or seeking power does not hold ground. This is while Mujahidin fictions are responsible for most of the atrocities of the 90s as well as some that took place in the 80s which eventually resulted in the rise of Taliban. This article uses false logic by creating parallels between events that have different political roots, causes and results. The author attempts to deprecate the atrocities that various fiction of what he calls Mujahidin has committed by belittling their role in the crimes. The author attempts to downplay the responsibility Mujahidin should be taking for the crimes they had committed by overplaying the resemblance between Egypt and Afghanistan creating an imaginary group secular by its nature and somehow responsible for the crimes in Afghanistan.
Another variable I use to determine institutional bias in BBC is by identifying the authors of these articles. The premise is that institutional bias can be established if such articles are throughout and doctored by different authors. Link three below is another article I consider unduly favourable to Masood, which is by another author who is again a member of BBC Persian team.
For plurality to be implemented an entity, in this case a nation, that represents diversity should exist. It might be the case that sectarian and ethnic divisions in Afghanistan runs so deep that the creation of balanced information based on Afghanistan wide perspective is unrealistic and unappealing. As a result any broadcaster catering to a linguistic group inclines towards the prevailing politics of that lingo-ethnic group. This certainly holds true if you look at BBC Pashto which some claim is similarly bias toward a Pan-Pashton politics. Many media outlets are ideologically motivated and inclined to support groups and parties that are politically or otherwise aligned with them. BBC Persian is intended to cater to Afghanistan wide audience and pursuing partisan politics is contrary to the policy and a violation of its mission. Should BBC decide to move toward catering to ethnic groups and semi-political fictions then that should be a conscious choice, not sleeping walking into it.
Here is the URL for this article
another article published under the title of lessons of Arab “autumn” for Afghanistan is at
link number three