Journalism in Afghanistan has been reborn, rising from the ashes of the Taliban regime. The country currently boasts 150 radio stations and 30 television channels. But how free is its journalism? And how much independence do the journalists have? By Marian Brehmer
A decade ago when Taliban rule was brought to an end, the first stirrings of new media life began to reanimate the corpse of the Afghan media.
Now, after ten years, despite the fact that it is appropriate to not to boast about the humble achievements of the international military presence – the resurrection of the press is a dynamic process involving contributions from many committed media people all over the country. Afghanistan even managed to rank well ahead of its neighbours, Pakistan and Iran, on the 2010 press freedom index published by “Reporters without Borders”.
Prior to 2001, the country’s only radio was the appropriately named Voice of Sharia; now, however, there are 150 different stations. With high rates of illiteracy, and consequently low circulation levels for print media, radio is the most widely distributed mode of communication in Afghanistan.