Documentary Maker on Taliban Wins Emmy

Emmy Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
Emmy Award-winning journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

Finally, some good news out of Pakistan. Journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has received an International Emmy Award in the Current Affairs category for her brave, fascinating documentary Children of the Taliban.

Children of the Taliban portrays the lives of young Taliban who are recruited at alarmingly young ages to carry out deadly tasks inside and out of Pakistan. Screened at Asia Society in 2009, the documentary paints an eerie picture of the young Taliban, who, upon graduating from madrassas, were given books "from which they learn[ed] how to become suicide bombers.” 

A native of Pakistan, Obaid-Chinoy studied at Smith College, where as an undergraduate she was an active freelance journalist. Upon receiving her M.A. degree from Stanford, she produced several documentaries highlighting Pakistan's political instability and the problem of refugees. In a 2003 Asia Society interview, she said the West did not understand Pakistan internally.

"One of the most compelling reasons why I thought my making a documentary would be an excellent means of communication to the Western world was because I am from Pakistan. So I am not a Western journalist who has been planted there for three days to survey the scene. I can bring a fresh perspective."

Seven years on, Obaid-Chinoy is a TED Fellow, the first non-American journalist to have won the prestigious Livingston Award, and today, an Emmy winner. 

In addition to all of these honors, meanwhile, Obaid-Chinoy becomes an Asia Society Asia21 Fellow in 2011.

Watch a PBS interview of Obaid-Chinoy on the making of Children of the Taliban below:

Related links: interview with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Pakistan Under Stress (2009 panel featuring with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)