The dramatic increase in media outlets has provided Afghans the opportunity to become journalists, but many are in danger because they lack basic reporting skills.
By Ilias Alami
Shabnah, a 12-year-old Afghan girl, votes for her favorite photo in the Farah Women’s Photography Club in Farah, Afghanistan. The number of Media organisations in Afghanistan has increased dramatically in the past ten years. (Flickr/Tracy DeMarco)
After the US intervention in Afghanistan, the number of media organisations there has increased dramatically.
According to an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) report from 2011, Afghanistan has more than 70 television stations, 175 radio stations and hundreds of newspapers. If we compare Afghanistan’s development in the past ten years, to what it was like 35 years ago – when watching TV, publishing newspapers and criticising the government in public was banned – we witness a big difference. Now the sudden boost in the media has provided a number of Afghans the opportunity to work in this field.
Of course, with this boost came consequences. Professional training in journalism, including the ethics of journalism, were some of the factors these new media workers lacked. This knowledge gap made Afghan journalists vulnerable to threats, harassment and beatings from the government, insurgents and other groups. According to a coordinator of the Journalists Committee in the Northern Province of Kunduz, most of the reporters in that area lack basic skills required in journalism.
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