Sup­pressed Voices

The tur­bu­lent en­vi­ron­ment in Afghanistan is a hin­drance in the way of me­dia free­dom.


Of­ten viewed as the in­cu­ba­tion unit of ter­ror­ists, Afghanistan’s com­plex and di­ver­si­fied so­cial struc­ture has given rise to despotic regimes and lack of an in­sti­tu­tional and struc­tural mech­a­nism which has re­sulted in hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions. Pro­longed wars and re­li­gious fa­nati­cism has re­duced the once cul­tur­ally rich na­tion to a mere waste­land where death and de­struc­tion has be­come the norm of life.

As part of an im­per­a­tive na­tion­build­ing ini­tia­tive, in early 2002, in­de­pen­dent news me­dia in­sti­tu­tions emerged pledg­ing to prac­tice eth­i­cal jour­nal­ism and re­frain­ing from prop­a­gat­ing any per­sonal or po­lit­i­cal agen­das. The na­tional Jirga com­mit­tee rec­om­mended the devel­op­ment of me­dia law and reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties which would safe­guard the me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions from vi­o­lence and in­jus­tice. But that was not to be the case.

Afghan me­dia took on its role as the fourth es­tate and be­came in­stru­men­tal in ex­pos­ing the cor­rupt prac­tices of gov­ern­ment and public of­fi­cials by re­port­ing sto­ries of public in­ter­est and along the way be­came a tar­get for in­flu­en­tial groups. Ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Hu­man Rights Watch (HRW) re­searcher on Afghanistan, Pa­tri­cia Goss­man, many Afghan of­fi­cials do not em­brace the idea that they are ac­count­able to the gen­eral public. “They be­lieve they can quash such crit­i­cism through vi­o­lence and


By Zahra Hu­seini

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