From rise to decline, the narrative of two decades of media work in Afghanistan

In the 21st century, mass media and social networks have a special place in human relationships, which cannot be denied of its influence on the daily life of humanity.
The wide changes in the world today owe to the functioning of the media and information based on human values.
The historical background of the media shows a vast transformation in the structure and function of journalism, and all the great achievements of this field today are owed to the efforts and struggles of the pioneers of the field and the media industry.
Although Afghanistan, as a member of the global body, has not played a constructive role in the dynamics of the media industry and the institutionalization of freedom of expression, the historical background and media activities of this land in the past two decades are worthy of attention.
In the past century and a half, media activities in Afghanistan have experienced many ups and downs. Media functions in this land started during the reign of Amir Shir Ali Khan and has gone through countless twists and turns until now.

After the developments after 2001 and the establishment of a new system in Afghanistan, freedom of expression took a new path. The value-oriented Azadi, which not only had a domestic reputation, but also had no competitors at the regional level. In the last two decades, Afghanistan witnessed the formation of a wave of written, audio and visual media that is considered unprecedented in the history of this country.
Based on the report of the Ministry of Information and Culture of the previous government, the total number of media that were registered in this ministry in the last two decades reached more than 1400 different types of media. The statistics of this ministry showed that by 2020, Afghanistan had 203 television channels, 366 radio stations, 72 newspapers, 354 weekly newspapers, 344 magazines and 73 news agencies. In addition, unofficial statistics had estimated the number of registered and unregistered media outlets in Afghanistan to nearly three thousand media outlets.
The presented statistics indicated the formation of neutral and independent media in Afghanistan, which history had not seen before. In the last two decades, Afghan media experienced unprecedented achievements in political, social, economic, and cultural dimensions, which Afghan citizens and intellectuals do not forget. Undoubtedly, all these achievements are the result of two decades of sacrifices of the Afghan media family. These developments were actually owed to the sacrifices of journalists and media workers of Afghanistan, who died, suffered injuries, were threatened in the developments of the past two decades, and finally, a large number of media pioneers of this country are now in exile.
It is believed that the achievements of the past two decades have been vast and diverse in their essence. Although in terms of content quality, Afghan media undoubtedly experienced problems, but in terms of quantity, the plurality of media created infrastructure and structural changes in the field of journalism industry in the country, which represents a tremendous change in the media field and It was a notification.
According to the nature of media work in these two decades, the majority of the work of the Afghan media reflected the anomalies and injustices of the ruling society; Although, during this period, efforts were made to form a responsible and value-oriented system in Afghanistan, but it did not happen. Although this job is not painless anywhere in the world and it is attacked everywhere, in Afghanistan, the lack of physical security and occupational immunity of journalists is one of the biggest challenges in this field.
The unprecedented increase in insecurity in recent years caused some journalists to become victims in Afghanistan, and these flag bearers of freedom watered the rich tree of freedom of speech and democracy with their blood.
Most importantly, in the last twenty years, media work in Afghanistan had a serious legal and legal support, and the formulation and implementation of laws related to media activities was the result of the struggle, efforts and litigation of journalists and media activists in the country.
But there have been serious challenges in the implementation of these laws and often these laws were not implemented in most cases.
The law-abiding society, the mafia of power and wealth, and the youth of the democratic system, are considered the main reasons for the non-implementation of media laws.
Access to information was one of the other challenges journalists faced. Based on Article 50 of the former Constitution of Afghanistan and Article 5 of the former Law on Public Media, access to information and news was said to be the right of Afghan citizens, but in many cases, these articles were violated by the government, armed opposition and the powerful. However, the efforts of journalists played a significant role in promoting the culture of informing and responding to government institutions at that time.
After the Taliban came to power, an authoritarian system once again ruled the journalistic work environment and a large number of journalists were forced to leave the country. More than 200 media were closed and the rest of the media are severely censored. Criticism of the system is considered a crime and critics are arrested and tortured by the intelligence department and the Taliban administration.
Reporters Without Borders, in cooperation with the Association of Free Journalists of Afghanistan, published a new report on the activities of the Afghan media and announced that since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, 231 media outlets have been closed and 6,400 journalists and media workers have lost their jobs. have given. Based on this report, after the establishment of the Taliban emirate, women journalists have suffered the most compared to other groups. The Taliban group’s threats, intimidation, restrictions and pressures on journalists and media people are increasing day by day. According to the statistics published by the Reporters Without Borders organization, with the Taliban coming to power

Among the 2,490 female employees in the media sector, only 410 women continue to work in the media; This report added that 84 percent of women and 51 percent of men lost their media jobs.
A large part of these closed media are local media. For example, in Herat province and the third largest city of the country, only 18 media outlets are active out of 51 media outlets. That is, nearly 65% ​​of the media outlets in this province have stopped their work, and in Kabul, which had the largest number of media outlets in the country, today one of the two media outlets (51%) is inactive.
Due to the suffocating situation of the media in Afghanistan and the lack of a powerful media organization to defend the fundamental rights of journalists, the media have gone silent and the cries of journalists and mass media have been silenced. Therefore, a group of journalists and media activists of the country created an institution under the name “Organization for the Protection of Afghan Journalists” to defend the rights of journalists and media organizations and Afghan media at the international level and to take practical steps in the field of strengthening freedom of expression. take away

Long live Afghanistan and long live freedom of speech…