Overland undercover in the Oz (and elsewhere)

Yesterday the Australian ran an interesting story about independent filmmaker Carmela Baranowska, who won a Walkley for her documentary Taliban Country. The Oz‘s feature begins:

FIVE years later people no longer stop me in the street and ask: “What happened? Did the Taliban kidnap you? Why are you still alive?”
In the beginning, the plan was simple: I would embed with the US military. I had an official letter from SBS’s Dateline current affairs program requesting military accreditation.
I would live with a US military Provincial Reconstruction Team; I would be in a remote part of Afghanistan; I would be away for two months.
At the Forward Operating Base, the C130 transport plane, nicknamed “The Bird”, landed in complete darkness.
We were in one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of south-central Afghanistan, in what the marines called “Taliban country”. I spent the next three weeks living in a city
of dirt and sleeping on rocks.

Nowhere did the reader learn that this gripping piece had previously been published, that, in fact, the whole thing was a light edit of Carmela’s essay from the most recent Overland.

Yes, we are happy to extract articles to newspapers; no, we are not happy if it’s done without any attribution whatsoever.

On a related note, Radio National’s Late Night Live recently featured Overland contributor Thomas Shepherd discussing his experiences as an undercover ASIO operative infiltrating the Left. You can hear his tale here.

If you like either of these stories, you might consider subscribing. Overland is a not-for-profit publication, and it depends on community support.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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  1. But don't believe the banner picture – they got that one wrong – its actually a picture of Catherine Gough-Brady – Not Carmela

  2. I know how you feel. It hurts. With all the discussion about practicalities it's easy to forget that correct attribution is a moral issue.

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