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Uncovering Afghanistan: Myth versus the Media at The Nottingham Playhouse

The Kite Runner

The Playhouse has been hosting a series of free events around its current (lauded and soon to be over!) stage adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. On Wednesday night, Kerry Featherstone talked about the portrayal of Afghanistan in the media, making parallels between today’s news and that of 1839 onwards, when the country was first presented in British newspapers.

The Victorians were experiencing an explosion of media in much the same way as we are now – although in their case, it was the appearance of hundreds of different newspapers pronouncing their views on events around the world. Of course, it took a lot longer for news to arrive from as far away as Asia back then. Featherstone observed how “objective” journalism back then is echoed now, over a hundred years later, in the language used in Western television, online and print reports of the country.

Fortunately, the overthrowing of the Taliban lifted the ban on independent television, internet and radio in Afghanistan, so that news can be disseminated by the Afghani people themselves. This means that anyone with internet access and curiosity can listen to the new voices – male and female – that are challenging these dated preconceptions of Afghani life.

The Kite Runner is showing until Saturday at The Playhouse, then tours Brighton and Liverpool until July.