Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghanistan's media landscape has developed rapidly. With a multitude of new magazines and newspapers, news agencies, and numerous TV and radio stations, the country can boast great media diversity – especially compared to the rest of the region. This is due in part to development funding and international aid projects. But many of these are winding down as international troops withdraw. As a consequence, broadcasters have started closing down or have had to cut back on programming. At the same time, government censorship is increasing sharply, and the security situation for journalists has significantly deteriorated. One stark indication of this was the murders of foreign journalists during Afghanistan's 2014 elections. The long, conflict-ridden process of nation-building as well as the reemergence of the Taliban and other terrorist groups due to the country's power vacuum, has led to an increase in attacks. The future of Afghanistan remains uncertain.
Around 70 percent of the Afghan population is under the age of 25. Therefore, the focus of much of DW Akademie’s work in the country is on up-and-coming journalists, journalism lecturers and organizations that produce children's programming. Workshops at the universities of Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat involving lecturers and students, have explored how journalism training can be made more interactive and effective as well as have a more practical orientation. The aim was to develop a network of universities that regularly exchange information about teaching materials, best practices and resources. DW Akademie has also developed pilot children's programs in collaboration with the public broadcaster, Radio and Television Afghanistan (RTA), and a network of private stations. This collaboration included journalists from Pakistan and helped overcome mutual prejudice, paving the way for stronger collaboration. In the run-up to the 2014 elections, DW Akademie also conducted workshops with journalists from rural and isolated areas on conflict-sensitive election reporting, media ethics and professional research methods. To ensure the long-term survival and diversity of the media landscape, DW Akademie has offered guidance on financial sustainability and marketing strategies to representatives from broadcasters around the country. In 2016, DW Akademie plans to launch an exchange program for Afghan and Tajik journalists. Afghanistan and neighboring Tajikistan share a similar culture and language, but the relationship is still marked by a great deal of distrust.
Funding sources: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Foreign Office (AA)
Contact person: Priya Esselborn
Operational locations: Kabul, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif
Local partners: Afghanistan's National Journalists Union (ANJU), Arezu TV, Aria TV, Pajhwok News, Radio Rabea Balkhi, Radio Television Afghanistan, Saba TV, Balkh University in Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat University, Kabul University, Khost University