Frontline World

About the Series


images from the episode
images from the episode

Episode Guide
EPISODE 204
Airdate: June 5, 2003

• Overview
• TV and Web Credits
• Press

>>Transcript

OVERVIEW

Philippines: ISLANDS UNDER SIEGE
A reporter's journey to meet Muslim rebels
Early this year, amidst military preparations for a war in Iraq, the United States announced it was sending 3,000 soldiers to Mindanao, the southernmost region of the Philippines. FRONTLINE/World correspondent Orlando de Guzman, a Filipino reporter from the north, journeyed to Mindanao, where Muslim rebels are fighting a guerrilla war against the Philippine government -- a war in which the United States may soon be embroiled. read more

Israel/Palestinian territories, IN THE LINE OF FIRE
When journalists become targets
FRONTLINE/World reviews the dilemmas and dangers reporters have faced covering the violence in the West Bank and Gaza over the past several years. Canadian TV producer Patricia Naylor interviews Palestinian cameramen and other journalists who say they have been shot by Israeli soldiers. [This story was originally broadcast in March of 2003, with an encore broadcast on many PBS stations June 5, 2003]. read more

Bhutan, THE LAST PLACE
Television arrives in a Buddhist kingdom
FRONTLINE/World explores the impact of television on a remote Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas. After centuries of self-imposed isolation, Bhutan legalized TV in 1999 -- the last country in the world to do so. Follow Rinzy Dorji, the local "cable guy," as he hooks up "an electronic invasion." read more

back to top

TV AND WEB CREDITS

ISLANDS UNDER SIEGE

REPORTER: Orlando de Guzman; PRODUCER: Margarita Dragon; EDITOR: Ben Gold; CAMERA: Egay Navarro; SOUND: Peter Marquez; MUSIC: Joey Ayala; ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Keith Bacongco; SENIOR PRODUCER: Martin Smith; Co-production of FRONTLINE/World and Rain Media

IN THE LINE OF FIRE

Reporter/Producer: PATRICIA NAYLOR; Co-Producer: RODNEY PALMER; Camera: TOM GATT, GARO NALBANDIAN, AMER JABARI, KHALIL MARI; Sound: HOPSI NALBANDIAN; Editors: STEVE AUDETTE, MICHAEL H. AMUNDSON; Additional Materials: ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE, APTN, BBC, NBC, ITN, REUTERS, TF-1

THE LAST PLACE

Producer/Reporter: ALEXIS BLOOM; Co-Producer/Reporter: TSHEWANG DENDUP; Camera: ALEXIS BLOOM, TSHEWANG DENDUP, CLARENCE TING; Editors: ROBIN CHIN, GARY WEIMBERG; Special Thanks: UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

FOR FRONTLINE/WORLD 204

Coordinating Producer for KQED: RACHEL RANEY; Associate Producer: SHERAZ SADIQ; Business Manager: SUZANNE ROMAINE; Web Producer: ANGELA MORGENSTERN; Web Editors: DOUG FOSTER, SARA MILES; Web Site Design: SUSAN HARRIS; Additional Web Production: EMILY COVEN; Promotion: ERIN MARTIN KANE, CHRIS KELLY; Community Engagement: BRENT QUAN HALL, ELLEN SCHNEIDER, ACTIVE VOICE; Interns: DAN KRAUSS, BRENT MCDONALD; Legal: ERIC BRASS, DAVID MOYCE; Satellite Photos: SPACE IMAGING; Theme Music: SUPREME BEINGS OF LEISURE; Sound Mix: JIM SULLIVAN; Post Production Supervisor: CHRIS FOURNELLE; Post Production Assistant: CHETIN CHABUK; Online Editor: MICHAEL H. AMUNDSON; Series Design: JOHN MACGIBBON; FRONTLINE Coordinating Producer: ROBIN PARMELEE; FRONTLINE Production Manager: TIM MANGINI; FRONTLINE Series Manager: JIM BRACCIALE; KQED VP, TV Station Manager: DEANNE HAMILTON; Executive in charge for KQED: SUE ELLEN MCCANN; Executive in charge for WGBH/FRONTLINE: SHARON TILLER; Series Editor: STEPHEN TALBOT; Executive Producer: DAVID FANNING

WEB SITE (Philippines, Israel/Palestinian territories, Bhutan)

Producer: ANGELA MORGENSTERN; Design and Production: FLUENT STUDIOS - Susan Harris, Joyce Yu; Additional Web Production: EMILY COVEN; Associate Producers: JESSIE DEETER, SHERAZ SADIQ; Writing and Research: DAVE GILSON, VICTORIA MAULEON; Additional Research: DAN KRAUSS; Copy Editors: LINDA RAHM-CRITES, JOAN SAUNDERS; Web Editors: DOUG FOSTER, SARA MILES, WEN STEPHENSON; Series Editor: STEPHEN TALBOT; Video Encoding: BUYSTREAMING, ZAPS; Special Thanks: SAM BAILEY, JOEL CAMPAGNA, KQED INTERACTIVE, ROBIN PARMALEE, PBS INTERACTIVE, RACHEL RANEY, WEN STEPHENSON, COLLEEN WILSON

back to top

PRESS REACTION

"Frontline/World" on PBS takes a look at global change on the local level. Sometimes a first-world force is arriving in a remote place, and at others something worrisome is heading our way. Tonight one segment explains how a new scourge, television, is disturbing the peace in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and another examines how violence between Muslims and Christians in Philippine villages might mean bloodshed on a larger scale.

The stakes in the South Pacific are higher, and the show presses the case with a meandering heart-of-darkness travelogue to the jungle headquarters of a guerrilla group fighting for an Islamic state, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. ...

But the odyssey through the island of Mindanao disappoints during bumpy fits and starts. In a white minivan, a guide puts a napkin with "Media" scribbled on it under a wiper blade, a pitiful heads-up to rebels in besieged hamlets. Villagers wave the wagon in errant directions. The threat of crossfire is imminent, and the crew makes viewers feel its fear. ...

The report mixes earnestness and breathlessness, offering viewers a handle on an emerging conflict, as if they were heading into Vietnam with the first American advisers. It does a passable job of avoiding "good guy" and "bad guy" designations, but recent reporting has set a higher standard for documenting wars and divining the motives of sources.

"Frontline/World" gives such conflicts more time than other networks might, and it is a journalistic service to investigate a crisis well before the largest media companies decide that it's top-of-the-broadcast news.

But tonight's encore trip to Bhutan, where a one-man cable television distributor is doing gang-buster business, is perhaps the best "Frontline/World" has to offer. It's a meditation on how television, with its commercial core, trains brains to go in new, usually violent directions.

This Himalayan culture has shed its insulation, and children and adults are suddenly transfixed by all the happenings that they never could have imagined. The camera captures a grandmother coaxing her charges away from tail-yanking animals on the Cartoon Network, and the boys later pounce on one another, inspired by professional wrestlers. Even a soft-spoken monk admits that the violence on television is habit-forming. "I noticed that last week when I was with my brother and watching television," he says. "And sometimes I forget my prayers."

---The New York Times

back to top