January 02, 2019
Increasing insecurity, direct threats against journalists, poor economic condition in the media outlets and the society’s conservative traditions forced a large number of female reporters leave their jobs from the media.
Women’s interest in working as journalists happens despite two non-government entities (Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, Women in Radio and Television) are active supporting female journalists and defending their rights across the country.
“Ladies in the media outlets are facing several problems. There has been an increasing violence against them, they receive less salaries and a vast restriction has been inflicted on their reporting and writing,” said Nahid Bashardost, a reporter working for the Pajhwok Afghan News. She added that women journalists have lost trust in their media jobs, so she said she was trying to find a government job and would never work in the media.
“Organizations are just by name, they are linked with each other like the mafia. They listen to your problems and complaints in presence, but ridicule you when you leave them. Such behavior is unacceptable for female journalists.”
Susan Samimi is another lady suffering same problems. Ms. Samimi has been long working as journalist in the volatile province of Farah in the west part of the country. She listed conservative society, less trust in women’s job as journalist, government’s carelessness and lack of security outside the media as main challenges as main factors discouraging women to get interest in media job. Ms. Samimi added that no woman was working in even one of several media outlets active in the province.
The presence of armed opposition groups in Wardak province is the major obstacle to women work in the media, says Breshna Mohammadi, a lady working in the media. “I personally have been threatened and annoyed during my job in the media, even the armed people and some corrupt ones threw night-letters into my house and threatened my life if I keep working. In addition to that, many other challenges are also hampering woman journalists,” said Ms. Samimi who is also women’s rights active in Wardak. She added that neither local government nor central authorizes or any other bodies meet their problems.
Abdul Mojib Khalvatgar, head of open media supporting agency (NAI), said in an exclusive interview with the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists that 2018 was a dangerous year for journalists’ security. “The bad security situation caused ladies to leave their jobs as reporters and resort to other jobs,” said Khalvatgar.
According to him, terrorists’ direct attacks on journalists that killed and injured some of them, had changed Afghanistan to an insecure country for reporters in 2018.
Wahida Faizi, in charge of women journalists in the committee for journalists’ immunity, told the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists that despite security threats and financial problems, 2018 was a year of capacity for female journalists.
“Two bodies active special for women journalists, the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists led by Mrs. Farida Nekzad and the Women in Radio and Television led by Mrs. Najiba Ayoubi, as well as training programs for female reporters helped women journalists in capacity building,” said Ms. Faizi.
A policy made by the committee for journalists’ immunity for women and the charter of harassment prevention to promote women’s position in the media released by the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, made 2018 as a year of achievements for them, according to Ms. Faizi.
15 Afghan journalists were killed last year, 11 of whom lost their lives in target attacks. Fereshta Mahram Dorrani was a female journalist killed in a last year attack.
Reporting by: Beheshta Ayoubi
Editing by: Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists