The role of media in selected aspects of governance in Afghanistan
AuthorLiwal, Eid Mohammad
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This study considers the implications and role of media with special reference to the role of Television and Radio within the context of Afghan government. Notwithstanding the growing significance of the media for a country’s overall development, there has been very limited research and academic attention on the media in the Afghan context in development. The objective of this paper is to analyze the media’s role (Radio and Television) in relation to selected sectors of governance affairs – notably Human Rights and Public Awareness. The relevance of the issue and the importance to the Afghan context is analyzed. Some of the major areas of focus and discussion topics of the study include the following: an analysis of the relevant needs and gaps in the concerned public organizations; a scrutiny of the media’s (Television & Radio) role and implications for selected key governance issues in Afghanistan; contributions and challenges of the media in relation to enforcement, protection and promotion of human rights and public awareness; relevant human rights laws and access to information for public awareness; and the strengths and weaknesses of the media in capacity building of the media practitioners to contribute to the broader governance of the country.. The major research methods and tools included secondary literature review, desk review of official documents, and key informant interviews with a cross section of stakeholders including the media personnel, local and central government officials, and academics. The findings reveal some major limitations of the media including inadequate perusal ethics and other scrupulous codes, inadequate academic and professional qualifications, and a low degree of professionalism among a considerable number of media practitioners and associated policymakers. Acting together, these limitations influence the state of overall governance badly. It is also found that the issues of civil and political rights are often neglected by the media. The media’s focus on national and local elections have not been strong. As newly emerged democratic society, elections are crucial for the country. It is noted that the media coverage of, and interest in elections have been very little. There seems to be several reasons behind this aversion. The absence of a strong democratic political culture and active participation of political parties, together with the unscrupulous interventions in the democratic process by the warlords have left a negative mark on the media, and most of the press remain less interested in discussing civil and political rights. Drawing on the examples of other democratic nations, this study reiterates the crucial significance of the media in the national development of Afghanistan, and nurturing its nascent democratic culture. Some major recommendations include the following: making appropriate policy provisions for attracting more local and foreign investors to move into the media sector; conducting a media-based mass awareness campaign to educate people on human rights related issues; and capacity development of the media personnel to enable them to carry out their stipulated role professionally and efficiently.