April 11, 2019
Despite facing dozens of problems, female reporters are able to become a loud voice of other Afghan women, particularly those ladies who have been repeatedly under severe violence, discrimination and prejudice, ladies who are unaware about their rights, and convey their wills and demands to the society. Women journalists have been under frequent threats and mental torture, but have not abandoned pleading for other women.
Female journalists are effective in reporting about the conditions of women especially those who live in remote areas far from cities and do not know about their basic rights.
Storay Karimi is one of these brave journalists. She is working as an investigative and feature reporter for several local, national and international media companies based in the western province of Herat.
“The number of women journalists is low in the traditional society of Herat province, but they have decreased the rate of violence with reporting and pleading in the area,” Ms. Karimi said.
She said that the rate of self-immolation that was a big problem in the problem, has significantly decreased due to awareness and investigative reports made by women journalists that helped Herati women be aware of their rights and not to be victims of family problems.
Atefa Mohammadi is another lady who serves as a journalist. She is working in the Banu (Woman) TV broadcaster in Kabul. She believes that media plurality and specific media outlets for women in the country is a great achievement in women’s lives. She said that women’s presence and activities in the media is a hope source for other women who live in rural areas and this encourages them to see and get information about what is happening in the world outside their homes.
The presence of women in the media is an inspiration for other ladies. The women journalists have drawn a cross over a dark image of Taliban regime during which women were banned from going out of house by making reports on different issues, especially women’s condition, achievements and challenges in the society.
Not only reports made by women journalists, but also exclusive programs for women aired by the audiovisual outlets are effective for the rural women just like a school.
Nafisa Sahar, reporter and news anchor for the local Radio Barges in the eastern province of Nangarhar says that “Journalists and media outlets in the remote areas have indicated the real stance of women for them.”
She produces an exclusive program for women titled ‘Life and women’s part’. “When women call to us and share their problems with us, resolves are offered and they call back after a few days to thank for the advices and consults in the program,” she says.
However, Ms. Sahar says that families rarely let their daughters go to school and learn. But recently, women journalists have worked hard to make awareness programs on women’s rights, so now, families let girls go to school and study.
Shaima Hosseini, an investigative journalist working for the Khawar TV in the northern province of Kunduz says that although women journalists have a weak presence there, but their put a positive impact on the lives of other women in Kunduz.
She says that women reporters and media workers inspire other women to struggle for their rights.
Meanwhile, law activists and media supporting organizations confirm this matter and appreciate women reporters’ hard work.
When women journalists prepare reports on the problems and challenges women are facing with, it totally puts impacts,” said Robina Hamdard, a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and activist for women’s rights.
Ms. Hamdard says that the Afghan Women’s Network has experiences in this regard. “When media release a report about violence against women, this network and other in charge entities, quickly take practical steps,” she said.
“We mostly learn about violence against women through the media, like the case of Sahar Gol, a lady in the north who was tortured by her husband’s family for six months. The media informed government very soon and their pleading caused her to be sent to abroad for medical treatment.”
Ms. Hamdard asks the media particularly women reporters who make reports on this issue to prepare follow ups in this regard and inform the people, because she thinks that when a case of violence takes place, people get informed about, but when the reports of punishment of the criminals are released, it would put more impacts for the reduction of violence. More people get a lesson about the punishment of violence and avoid committing violence.
Aziz Ahmad Tassal, Head of Press Club, a body supporting the media, confirms the impacts of women journalists’ works on other women particularly those who live in rural areas away from cities, saying that women reporters are able to decrease violence and increase women’s awareness of their rights.
“Women can realize the pains of women and convey their problems to the government in charges, and also women can only share their problems with women. So, I can say that the reports made by women about violence and harassments are more effective on the public opinion,” Tassal said.
He added that women have been informed about the rights of education, freedom of speech and a sound life through reports made by women journalists, and women are not living now in the dark era of two decades back (Taliban regime).
Women in Afghanistan have been working enthusiastically in the media despite several problems and threats. But their activities are still not free of problems and public opinion is not ready to accept a woman as a media activist.
Reported by: Beheshta Ayoubi
Edited by: Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ)