AAM Responds to CSM Article

AAM Responds to CSM Article

The Christian Science Monitor
210 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston MA 02115
letters@csmonitor.com

September 16, 2011

To the Editor:

I am writing in reference to the article published in your newspaper on Friday, September 2nd, 2011, regarding US government funding for Pakistani journalists based in Washington DC. The article raises some very important and worthwhile issues about government funding and the disclosure of funding sources. We welcome these discussions and indeed believe they are vital to ensuring the editorial integrity of journalism.

In this spirit of journalistic integrity, I would like to address some of the article's inaccuracies and insinuations about America Abroad Media and our work with partners in Pakistan.

First, the article refers to America Abroad Media as a “nonprofit intermediary” through which US government money is provided to Pakistani journalists, inferring that we are a conduit for the US government. The fact is, we are not an ‘intermediary,’ but rather a fully independent nonprofit organization that prides itself on high-quality, objective journalism. The US government plays no role whatsoever in selecting or editing the content of our Pakistan programs.

Secondly, the article states that we only posted details online about our Pakistan work after being contacted by the Christian Science Monitor. The fact is that we had been constructing a new website for the previous 6 months, and its launch – including full details about our Pakistan project – literally coincided with the day the author contacted us. We assured the CSM reporter that we could not build an entirely new website within hours of his call. The article nonetheless implied that we were knowingly concealing these details, which is false.

When contacted for this story by your reporter we specifically asked him to evaluate our work and judge for himself. He agreed that the quality of our journalism was good. Unfortunately, that recognition of AAM's high editorial standards was nowhere to be found in the article, and your readers may have been less than well served by that omission.

Aaron Lobel
President
America Abroad Media
1020 19th St. NW, Suite 650
Washington, DC 20036
alobel@americaabroadmedia.org

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