In Nangarhar, the community joins together to listen to A Story of a Village
CHALLENGE Afghanistan’s vibrant and increasingly professional media is widely seen as a success story but press freedom remains a challenge. Ordinary Afghans remain generally ignorant about the crucial role that a free press can and should play in society and consequently do not offer robust support to media institutions. There is a need to build public awareness about journalists and their work.
INITIATIVE A radio play on journalists and their role in Afghanistan was broadcast nation-wide on the Salam Watandar radio network and provincial stations. Produced by Equal Access as part of the USAID-funded Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project, A Story of a Village depicted the professional lives of journalists in Afghanistan. Half the 44 episodes were in Dari and the other half were Pashto. The play, which captured the journalists’ courage, riveted audiences young and old, rural or remote, across the country. A monitoring and evaluation exercise was conducted with audience groups to measure the impact of the radio play.
RESULTS The audience groups initially expressed little understanding of and appreciation for the role of journalists. However, after listening to A Story of a Village, the groups reported more than a four-fold increase in their perception of journalists’ role in a democratic society.
After listening to the radio play, one member of the audience said, "We came to know that a journalist faces lots of problems in bringing us genuine news. We now understand that they are well-wishers of society and have good feelings for their people, which drive them to put their lives in danger to do their duties."
Through this USAID-funded initiative, the production and broadcast of A Story of a Village has facilitated public awareness of the media’s role in society.
Afghans Hear the Story of a Free Press