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Media in Afghanistan Before and After the Taliban Media in Afghanistan Before and After the Taliban
by Abdulhadi Hairan
2008-08-15 07:35:37
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Taliban, as a militant group, emerged in Kandahar in 1994 and captured more than half the provinces including capital Kabul in less than two years.

When the Taliban appeared, they claimed that they wanted to bring peace to the country and that is why people welcomed them to end the conflict and live in peace. But all the expectations turned upside down soon when the Taliban took control and banned every thing human beings need to live with. The most affected was the already weak media.

The US-led coalition with the help of Afghan supporters ousted the Taliban in 2001 and set a new government led by President Hamid Karzai.

After these six years, when we compare the situation in Afghanistan, we cannot help to say that the country is completely changed and has gained a lot.

Here we will talk about media. Media was the most affected in the Taliban rule. And it is the most nourished after the Taliban were toppled. We can say that the improvement of media in these years is higher than we can imagine.

When the group (the Taliban) was ruling the country, all sources of entertainment were banned including music and sports. There was only one Taliban-backed radio and some local propaganda newspapers and magazines which they had changed into religious missionary. Access to internet and computers was below zero percent.

Now the country has at least 6 TV channels and more than 20 radio stations including the state run Radio and Television of Afghanistan (RTA). Tolo and Aryana TV channels are the most popular. These TV and radio channels air standard programmes which are appreciated internationally. Also there are more than one hundred newspapers and magazines independently publishing around the country.

In the Taliban's Afghanistan, only one state-run news agency called Bakhtar was active which later became "Taliban news agency". Now the country is proud to have internationally known news agencies like Pajhwok Afghan News, and also the state-run Bakhtar news agency is working like a semi-independent news agency.

The country has never seen any union or organization of the journalists. Now there are at least two journalist associations and Afghan journalists have membership with international journalist organizations. Afghanistan Journalists Independent Association (AIJA) is working for the rights of the journalists and media with a great success.

The Taliban had banned photography and reporting events without their permission was declared illegal. Now the journalists as well as 20 percent population have access to the internet and even the Taliban publish their own magazines and newspapers decorated with color photos and excessive propaganda. Also females were not allowed even to go to schools or work during the militants' rule, now there are hundreds of educated female journalists in the field.

Besides this, there are hundreds of websites in English, Pashto and Dari run by Afghan journalists, media outlets and individuals. Thousands of the Afghans around the world visit these websites every day, get information and discuss things on the forums.

Before 2001, Afghanistan was on the top list of the countries where press freedom was zero. But in 2006, the country's freedom of media record was better than its neighboring countries Pakistan, China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, as well as Mexico, Egypt, Bangladesh, Russia, and Vietnam, according to Reporters without borders' annual report.

First published Oct 12, 2007


    
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