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Reporters on the Job

April 5, 2006



Who is your interpreter? Journalists always have to be on guard as to who may be trying to influence their reporting - whether it's a government official leaking them damaging information about a rival or a relief agency trying to raise money for impending famine. Western journalists also often hire a local journalist to be their interpreter and "fixer," someone with good local contacts who can facilitate getting interviews.

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In the interest of full disclosure, correspondent David Montero in Islamabad, Pakistan, included the name of his Urdu language interpreter for today's story about foreigners who fly to Pakistan to get an Islamic education.

Until recently, David's interpreter, Rashad Bukhari, worked at the Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad. His area of expertise was Islam and the West. Today, Mr. Bukhari is a freelance writer. He recently helped research a US Institute of Peace report on the curriculum of madrassahs in Pakistan. The institute is a congressionally funded research group.

"The report was a completely different subject from my story. But Rashad had been to 10 different madrassahs and had fresh contacts with their leaders. I visited two madrassahs for this story. He was able to open doors for me that I wouldn't have been able to open on my own," says David. "He was recommended by a colleague who was impressed by his integrity and honesty."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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