The Asia Foundation’s recent release of the 2014 report A Survey of the Afghan People, an annual survey with ten years of data collection, has some significant results related to the information domain. One finding shows a correlation between television ownership and a number of seemingly unrelated factors, including voter participation, liberal attitudes towards women’s education and reduced sympathy for armed opposition groups.
The implications are twofold: 1) watching TV in Afghanistan has a liberalizing effect and 2) perhaps more importantly, cultural influence—adjusting perceptions and norms—is possible.
This is noteworthy because the United States has abandoned any attempts at coherently engaging in the information domain. Some in government doubt that it can be done successfully; some forget that we once had an entire agency dedicated to doing exactly that.