Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Media is One of the Greatest Success Stories of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

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Media is One of the Greatest Success Stories  of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Media is a new phenomenon, known as an effective power globally, able to direct or misdirect the world. Effective and democratic media are an essential part and indispensable for societies trying to make a transition towards peace and democracy. However, millions of dollars have been invested in the development of the Afghan media sector and the growth of private media since 2001 is considered one of the country’s greatest success stories. On the other hand, based on history, the media has come in Afghanistan in 1873, but for various reasons it was marginalized, isolated, ignored, rarely supported by the people, as the result it had lost its influence on the Afghan society for more than a century. Yet, after two decades of presence, the media sector is entering a mature phase in Afghanistan now. By looking at the media performance during different rounds of elections since 2004, one can obviously see how the approach has changed toward election reporting. This means that the Afghan media sector has progressed amazingly and it worth to advocate for it to be survive in the future. Conversely, Afghanistan’s media has two primary goals. The short-term goal is to counteract the effects of insurgent communications in order to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. The long-term goal is to create a free and independent, self-governing media sector that will continue to function purposefully with producing worthy production for different types of people in the country.   Strengthening an energetic media is as if as supporting sustainability and civil society, democracy and governance in Afghanistan. Mainly the media facilitate community building by helping people to find common causes, identify civic groups, and work toward solutions to societal problems. The media act as watchdogs checking government actions, set the agenda for public discussion of social and political issues, and provide a forum for political expression. Ideally, the media serve several essential roles in democratic society. Their primary purpose is to inform the public, providing citizens with the information needed to make thoughtful decisions about leadership and policy. Overall media deliver a picture of political divisions of the society to the public.  They have vastly increased the potential for political information to reach even the most disinterested citizens. Media enable the creation of digital public squares where opinions can be openly shared. There are four major types of media in broad-spectrum; traditional media, print media, electronic media and social media. The fact is the peace loving people of Afghanistan want their voices to be heard and they need institutions that are transparent, responsive, capable and accountable.  Independent media plays an essential role in delivering the right information for the people need to participate in debates and decisions that shape their lives.   Freedom of expression is not only the core of a healthy media but also a fundamental human right and vital for a democratic structure. Furthermore, media are platforms through which communication are passed from one person to another, or from one place to another. It stimulates citizen engagement in politics for instance political party’s membership registration, voter’s registration, elections and electoral campaigns, electorate’s management are among the major political activities, no one can ignore the important role of media in education, social, and economic progress. Since media offer the reality of political parties and political elites and give people the opportunity to have options when they are going to cast their votes, and express their opinions.  Having an independent media is the wish and major goal of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. For, media narrate the stories of each political elite, people are informed of how much elites are wealthy and how influential their wealth is. Today, if people are going to cast their votes, this means that overall media give an account of each vision and its values, allowing the public to move towards the preferred values. Fortunately, freedom of expression and freedom of press are the two values that have ranked Afghan media higher than all of its neighboring countries. Therefore, this achievement must be survive as the conclusion of peace with the Taliban. In Taliban times, there was one radio by the name of “Radio Sharia” which broadcasts the Taliban propaganda only. Regrettably, the Taliban do not tolerate professional media that reveal their actions. The Taliban are an extremist movement, deeply oppose to free media. During their rule, they were lacked access to adequate information. They have made clever use of ethnic tensions in their favor.  Meanwhile the Taliban are lack of local administration to gain the real support of the population. Majority of the Taliban are motivated by money, even though some of them are armed gang and criminals. The objective of the Taliban today is the same as it was in the 1990s.
To end with, in Afghanistan, the media are utilized to distribute knowledge and it is a tool of and signpost for democracy. If democracy is to work properly, society needs access to news and information. Democracy is the rule of a majority, a truly democratic framework also demands and ensures that those elected must be accountable. This includes protecting against gender discrimination, protecting the rights of minorities, protecting freedom of speech.  Analysis of politics decision, status, debate, practical information and exchange as well as entertainment are needed and provided by the media.  Another advantage of media is to convey peace messages to fighters and community elders. Media is a great assistance in conflict management and peace building. Information is power that can impact on insight and public discourse indirectly and change the perceptions. Lastly, free media would guarantee a long-term support to the people of Afghanistan on their path towards peace, security and prosperity, let’s back it.

Dawlat Bakhtiari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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