Telly exec swapped Waingels for Kabul

Published: 12 Nov 2009 12:000 comments

AN AMBITIOUS media mogul from Woodley has launched a new TV station in one of the world's most troubled spots.

Siobhan Berry is the director of production at 1TV, broadcasting from the highly unstable environment of Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

The former Beechwood Primary School and Waingels pupil has a track record as globetrotter - her media career has already taken her to Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia - but she knows her latest challenge will be her toughest.

Siobhan, 34, (pictured) said: "It's unlike any situation I have ever known both professionally and personally for a girl from Woodley! As you can imagine Kabul is a dangerous and volatile place to live and work.

"I woke up to gunfire last week when a UN guest house next door to us was under siege by the Taliban."

The independent satellite channel will produce documentaries, news and current affairs, children's programming, social and cultural productions, reality TV, game shows and talk shows for the Afghan people.

Siobhan said: "There are issues with censorship such as the blurring of women's shoulders on screen and no nudity is allowed to be broadcast.

"But we have a freedom of speech policy and offer unbiased news and current affairs, giving the opportunity for everyone to tell their story. I think this is really important. Other channels here do not offer this and have some allegiance with political parties and try to force their own news agenda."

She added: "If you had told me a year ago I would be here launching a Dari and Pashto-speaking television channel I would not have believed you. The fact that I am here, I have survived and I have achieved it satisfies me.

"But I miss my freedom and I miss my family very much. I miss my old local the Bull and Chequers and will be sure to pay a visit at Christmas time."

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