Afghanistan is a barren, mostly mountainous country of about 647,500 sq. kilometers (250,000 square miles). It is approximately the size of Texas. Kabul is the capital city of Afghanistan. It is an Islamic republic. It is one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries. Its economy is not industrialized. There is practically no infrastructure, road, power, communication etc. There is still barter in many sectors. It is a tradition system mixed with Muslim religious principle. People are contended with what they have and do not have much exposure to the external world.
Afghanistan’s population is to be estimated 31,056,997, which is characterized by high growth, low quality of life, and an unusual settlement pattern brought on by conflict and drought. The majority of the people (about 60 percent) live in rural areas, about 30 percent live in cities, and 10 percent live a nomadic lifestyle. These percentages are rough estimates, however, because the ongoing civil war and a succession of poor growing seasons have forced over 3 million Afghanis to become refugees Afghanistan is a complex mosaic of ethno linguistic groups. As of 1979, 99.7 percent of the Afghan population was of the Muslim faith, and the remainder was largely Hindu.
The political system of Afghanistan has seen a sea change over the past few decades. The land has long been witness to historic events and wars that has truly transformed the prevalent political conditions of the country. In recent years the political scenario of Afghanistan has long been predominated by efforts of invasion by the United States and the United Kingdom and establishes a stabilized government.
Color television broadcasting began in 1978. The Taliban banned television and closed the station in 1996. Taliban religious police smashed privately owned television sets and strung up videocassettes in trees in a form of symbolic execution by hanging. Anyone found harboring a television set was subject to punishments of flogging and a six-month incarceration.
In the northeast, however, Badakhshan Television broadcast news and old movies for three hours every evening. Financed by the Northern Alliance, the station's audience was limited to around 5,000 viewers (among 100,000 residents in Faizabad without electricity).
The development of television in Afghanistan has been slow. According to most estimates, only one- third of the Afghan population has access to television, while all attempts at reforming the state-owned Afghan television have been abandoned. With USAID funding, Arman FM has started Afghanistan's first independent commercial TV channel, Tolo TV, in early October, although its success has yet to be ascertain. The national survey, which dates to 2005, shows that 19 percent of Afghan households own a television, a remarkable total when considering that not only was owning a TV a crime under the Taliban but that a mere 14 percent of the population has access to public electricity.
The government controls National Television Afghanistan (RTA). Three of the most popular television broadcasters are Tolo TV, Aina TV, and Ariana TV. Now there are 10 T.V channels they are: -
ANTV (Afghanistan National Television)
Ariana Afghanistan Television
Ariana TV Network
Ariana TV Network International
Lemar TV (private, Pasto)
Tolo TV (private channel, Farsi)
Below is list of the channels in Afghanistan with their type of broadcast.
1.RTA--Government2.Tolo--Private--FarsiLanguage3.Lemar--Private--Pashto4.Noorin TV--owned by Panjshiri Businessman-- Farsi5.Noor TV--Owned by Burhanuddin RAbbani--Farsi6.Tamadon--Owned by Asef Mohseni--Farsi7.Farda--owned by Mohaqeq--Farsi8.Imroz--owned by Najibullah Kabuli MP--Mostly Farsi9.Afghan TV--private-- Pashto and Farsi
10.Shamshad TV--owned by Afghan melat--Pashto11. Ariana TV--owned by Bayat--Mix12. New Channel by Khali13. Ayena --owned by Dostum--Farsi, uzbeki, Turkmeni and Pashto
Radio Arman is Afghanistan's first ever privately owned independent FM radio station. . Half of its radio jockeys are women, who co-present the program with men. Afghanistan is still steeped in a radio culture as the majority of the population, particularly in the remote rural regions, depends on radio. Arman FM is the country's most successful commercial pop station.
The government also controls one radio station, Radio Afghanistan. Taliban radio, which was banned after the fall of the regime, began broadcasting again in April 2005. The location of the Taliban's station is unknown.
Radio is the broadcast medium of choice in Afghanistan, an option well suited to a low-literate society, although most people do not have a radio. Radio ownership is limited around 74 per 1,000. The Radio Voice of Sharia (Islamic law), founded in 1927 as Radio Kabul and controlled by the Ministry of Information and Culture, was programmed by the Taliban to provide domestic service up to 10 hours daily in Dari and Pashtu; daily domestic service of 50 minutes in Nurestani, Pashai, Turkmen, and Uzbek; and 30 minutes of foreign service in English and Urdu.
There are now at least 45 FM radio stations in Afghanistan. Some of them are: -
Arman FM 98.1
Radio Aryana FM 93.5 Kabul Afghanistan
Radio Azadi FM 100.5 Kabul Afghanistan
BBC Radio FM 89.0 Kabul Afghanistan
Radio kILID FM 87.5 Kabul Afghanistan
Radio FM 89.4 Kabul Afghanistan
Radio Zala FM 89.2 Kunar Afghanistan
Since the fall of King Zahir Shah in 1973 and the end of the "decade of democracy", the press has been in the hands of the government. After coming to power in 1978, the Democratic Party introduced a media system based on the Soviet model. About 100 publications, all dependent on state institutions, were scrupulously vetted by the security ministry's "seventh committee", which was in charge of censorship. When the Mujahideen took control in 1992, 90% of publications disappeared, either because they were banned or because they had been stripped of their material resource. In the provinces, a few publications controlled by the local authorities appear irregularly. Their content is meagre, with no photos, illustrations, readers' letters or editorials. All the news printed comes from ministries and the official news agency. Working conditions for journalists are very harsh: they have to take orders from the Taliban representatives assigned to editorial offices, and the state pays little and irregularly. In spite of the troublesome
condition of press and press freedom the Dean of Kabul University insists that journalism course are still taught according to the criteria of international media and professional ethics. Needless to say, the University admits only male students.
Afghani newspapers provide information on local issues, politics, events celebrations, people and business. Controversial and political issues are usually ignored in newspapers. The potential newspaper audience is small because Afghanistan has a literacy rate thought to be among the lowest in Asia that is just 28%, although education is compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13.
According to one Afghan journalist in his direct opinion "There are no journalists left in Afghanistan today. They are working as religious officials and are formally forbidden to write anything." Foreign journalists who have been covering Afghanistan since 1996 tell how nervous the military are of still and video cameras, which they call "the Devil's boxes".
Afghanistan adopted a new press law in March 2004. While giving the media a relatively liberal framework in which to develop it also lets the political authorities maintain a degree of control over the press. New newspapers and printers, for example, must get a license from the information ministry. The commissions in charge of regulating the print and broadcasting media are under the government’s thumb. And foreign investment in the media is strictly limited.
The first regularly published Afghani newspaper was the Saraj-al-Akhbar ("Lamp of the News") debuting in 1911 and published in Afghani Persian (Dari), eight years before Afghanistan gained independence on August 19, 1919, from Great Britain. Modern printing machines began operating in Afghanistan in 1927, although the printing standards remain behind the times.
Despite of the instable government and press freedom there are some notable newspapers which have contributed on the development of press in Afghanistan and they are:-
Afghan Daily [In English]
Afghan Online Press [In English]
Bassirat [In French]
The Daily Afghanistan (Kabul) [In Pashto & Dari]
Daily Outlook Afghanistan (Kabul) [In English]
Kabul Press (Kabul)
Tolafghan [In Pashto & Dari}
Cinema entered Afghanistan at the beginning of 20th century. The political changes of Afghanistan has not allowed the cinema of the country to grow over the years. However, numerous Pashto and Persian films have been made both inside and outside Afghanistan throughout the 20th century. Cinema of Afghanistan entered a new phase since 2001. Several Afghan films have attracted international critics and the public.
“Osama"(Dari/Pashtu) is the first full-length feature film to emerge from Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime. It is an attempt to come to terms with the country's history – and it already won a Golden Globe Award.
Apart from Dari cinema, Pashto cinema is also flourishing in Afghanistan. Several Pashto language films have been made since the fall of the Taliban. Also several Pashto films have been made by foreigners like "Good Morning Afghanistan" (2003) by Camilla Nielsson
In the whole of Afghanistan after 1978, there were 26 movie theatres – 18 of them in Kabul. Many of these were lost in the war.
Since 2000, the cinema of Afghanistan has slowly started to emerge from a lengthy period of silence.
Since the establishment of an Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) the rebirth of the Afghan film industry has attracted great international support and it can be said that film is currently the most developed Afghan art form. The films shown are mainly educational in nature, covering such subjects as landmine awareness, healthcare and protection of the nation’s heritage.
Afghanistan has a registered Film Union, which is part of the Artists' Union of Afghanistan. It is now independent from state control, under the leadership of filmmaker Timor Shah Hakimyar. At the time of the Soviets the first Film Union was controlled by the government, who dictated the type of films to be made.
Although there is no formal film school in Afghanistan, the University of Kabul’s Faculty of Fine Arts offers a theatre-training program, which includes acting for the cinema. AÏNA, Afghan Film and Kabul Film also run apprenticeship programs to encourage young filmmakers.
MUSIC INDUSTRY IN AFGHANISTAN
Today's Afghan music can be roughly divided into traditional, modern and post-modern. Boundaries between these different categories are not clear-cut but roughly reflect eras of pre Soviet, intra Soviet and post Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The influences of neighboring cultures are reflected upon Afghan Music. Since Taliban banned Music, most Afghan music during that period was created in exile. Afghan artists continued to produce music especially in the United States and Canada. Afghan music sites all around the world
· Afghan MP3 Songs
· Afghan HITS.com
· Afghan Music Page etc..
The Bakhtar News Agency, responsible for domestic news collation and distribution to all domestic media, reports to the Ministry of Information and Culture. Leaders in both these units traditionally have been appointed based on their loyalty to the ruling government.
Afghani refugees—the Afghan Islamic Press and the Sahaar News Agency, have launched two Pakistani-based news agencies. They manage to produce bulletins with varying degrees of accuracy for mostly Western wire services.
Because of the dangers to journalists based in Afghanistan, foreign news bureaus have shrunk. By 2001 only three countries were represented by news agencies in Kabul: Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Yugoslavia.
The Afghan government runs one news agency, Bakhtar News Agency. The other two are privately owned: Pajhwok Afghan News Agency and Hindukush News Agency.
By 2002 it appeared that traditional forms of press freedom were simply nonexistent in Afghanistan. Because the ruling movement strictly interpreted Muslim Sharia law and banned representation of people and animals, for example, newspapers were picture-free— censorship in which Afghanistan stands alone in the world. Had newspapers been allowed to print photographs, women would have appeared only in full veil and men in full beard. This suppression of freedom of expression extended to a complete ban on music and films.
Self-censorship also has been a problem because of the threats received by journalists after writing articles critical of the Taliban. Afghan journalists, working both locally and in exile, have been subject to warnings as well as fatwas (death threats) for writing unpopular reports. These threats have sometimes materialized into murder.