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Kunduz media outlets: Women’s representation down by 60pc

August 30, 2017

Kunduz: The presence of women in local media organisations of northern Kunduz province has declined by 60 percent in the past two years, a local news agency reports.

Currently, only 32 women are working for nine radio stations and three local television channels in Kunduz province. Women’s representation has apparently fallen due to escalating violence.

Before the fall of Kunduz two years ago, 81 women worked for different local media outlets. But they fled the province due to security concerns, bringing their number down to only 32.

Two years ago

According to Pajhwok investigations, two years back, four women worked for Kunuz Radio, 13 for Zahra Radio, over 15 for Kehan Radio, six for Sabnam Radio, one for National Kunduz Radio.

As many as 11 women were associated with Cheragh Radio, two with Badloon Radio and 25 with Roshani Radio while the Eslah Radio had no female employee two years ago.

Current representation

The presence of women declined by 60 percent compared to two years back. At the moment, there is no woman employee in Radio Eslah, while four females work for Zahra Radio, five for Radio Kehan, three for Shabnam Radio, seven for Radio Cheragh, six for Radio Roshni, two for Radio Badlon and one for Kunduz National Radio.

Three local television channels are also on the air in Kunduz. The National Television has no woman employee, with Khawar and Roshni having two women workers each.

Not a single woman in Kunduz works as a reporter. Mostly of females work either as newscasters or host social women-related programmes.

Worries of owners

Owners of local media outlets confirmed women had lost interest in working in the sector after the fall of Kunduz City and growing insecurity. They say women were no longer enthusiastic about working as news-people.

Obaidullah Qazizada, head of the Roshni Radio Television, said most women had left their jobs in the media after the fall of Kunduz and had migrated to other provinces or foreign countries.

Financial issues being faced by media and security threats have been the main reason for media outlets’ failure to compete. He accused the government of being unable to maintain security.

“In the past two years, many female workers had left their jobs and the main reason was insecurity. We had over 25 female workers but currently only eight women work with us,” he explained.

Malalai Yusufi, head of the Charagh radio, said the security situation had been terrible in Kunduz and no females dared work in the media sector.

She added some families had heard about security threats over the telephone and therefore did not allow their daughters to work in media organisations.

She asked the government to pay enough attention to the rehabilitation of the media sector and ensure journalists’ security.

Zarghona Hassan, editor in chief of Kahan Radio Station in Kunduz City, said the radio was run by 15 females before the province was overrun by Taliban. But now only five female workers are there.

She expressed concern over the deteriorating media situation and warned the progress made towards media freedom over the past 14 years would be reversed if the government did not pay serious attention.

Journalists’ apprehensions

Shekiba Hashimi, working for a local media outlet, said: “We worried about the security situation. Officials have repeatedly promised improving the situation but have failed to take any practical step yet.”

Sana Mohammadi, a former employee of Cheragh radio station, said: “I had a lot of interest in working for media, but the bad security situation in the province forced me to leave my job. I presented a programme regarding women’s problems on a local radio but now my family doesn’t allow me to work.”

She added her family had been warned by unidentified gunmen against letting women work for radio or television channels. However, Mohammadi said she was still interested in working if the security situation improved.

Concern at shrinking representation

A number of Kunduz residents, while expressing concern over the shrinking presence of women in media outlets, asked the government to improve the security environment and protect female workrs.

Bashir Khan, a resident of Kunduz City, told Pajhwok radio and television programs done by women had decreased after the fall of the provincial capital to the Taliban.

“It is obvious women’s participation in local media has declined by around 90 percent in this area after the recent violence in Kunduz,” he said, adding there was no security for girls, who felt unsafe working for media organisations.

Nisar Jalali, a journalist, also expressed concern at women’s situation and their presence in radio stations, television channels and printing media outlets in the province.

“The absence of girls from media has left a negative impact on women’s situation in Kunduz. This situation needs serious attention from the government. The lives of women and journalists have to be protected,” he stressed.

However, the provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Abdul Hamid Hamidi, said security forces were always ready for protecting journalists, particularly female media workers.

He confirmed the problems regarding media workers’ security, he assured no one would be allowed to create hurdles for them or disrupt the programmes they present.

Impressive improvement in the media sector in Afghanistan has been one of the major achievements of the government and people. But insecurity and economic problems have seriously damaged the media and its workers.

 

Back on air: UNDP re-equips women and youth radio stations in Kunduz

March8, 2016

Kunduz: UNDP funds restart of local stations Sheasta Radio and Kaihan Radio which were destroyed during occupation of the city by the Taliban in September 2015.

A statement of the UN agency said, Shaesta, a radio network dedicated to women’s issues, and Kaihan, which serves youth, were both looted during the takeover of Kunduz last September, and their staff were forced into hiding. Previously they reached Kunduz and neighbouring provinces with information on how to access healthcare and education, as well as women’s legal and political rights.

UNDP has replaced damaged equipment, allowing both stations to resume programming in time for International Women’s Day on March 8th.

“Our two stations share the same equipment, so this investment goes a long way,” said Zarghoona Hassan, Editor-in-Chief of Shaesta. “Over the next few months, we’ll be promoting women’s rights and youth issues throughout the local area.”

In Afghanistan, 73 percent of households own a radio compared to 45 percent with a television. This makes radio the most cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people, especially in areas with low literacy rates.

“Local radio is a great way to spread important messages about women’s rights where they need to be heard the most,” said Cecilia Ncube, UNDP’s Gender Project Manager.

Women in conservative areas such as Kunduz are often denied healthcare, employment and legal services, as well as basic rights and freedoms. Local radio can advocate for social change and also let women know what services are available, what their rights are and where they can go if they need help.

“We stand behind the people of Kunduz and are proud that we can help women regain their voice,” said UNDP Country Director, Douglas Keh. “Hearing other women’s voices on air can bring hope and encouragement to those who feel trapped at home and are afraid to speak out.”

Afghan govt's honors journalists for covering Kunduz battle

Oct. 31, 2015

Kabul:The Afghan government held the certificate-awarding ceremony Saturday to honor the journalists in recognition of their courage and professionalism for covering Kunduz battle late in September and early in October.

According to Xinhua, Ahmad Zia Masoud, the vice-presidential level special representative of the president on reforms and good governance, addressed the ceremony, appreciating those journalists for their timely and thorough coverage from the battle field.

Masoud said, the reporters lively depicted the warzone when the clash was on-going between Taliban and government forces in Kunduz city.

Kunduz city, the capital of Kunduz province, 250 km north of Kabul, was fallen to Taliban militants on Sept. 29 and the government forces backed by the U.S. military recaptured it 12 days later after fierce fighting.

As the Taliban overran the city, they captured governmental and non-governmental buildings including six radio stations and three television stations and many journalists have fled the city, but a journalist for Radio Kaihan who was working as security guard in night shifts at MSF hospital killed in the US airstrike.

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