Independent press begun in Kabul
February 8, 2002
Filed under Archives
They just want to be free. Is
that too much to ask?
Since the Taliban is no
longer in power, Kabul has
started its own independent
newspaper. You may wonder
what this has to do with you.
The answer is: more than you
think.Though many of its readers
do not know the language it is
written in, the paper is promised
to soon be a major force in Afghanistan.
It will help them recover
from two decades of war
by giving them a news source
that is not pure propaganda.
They are exercising freedom of
speech, considered a right in
The first edition was printed
in mid-January. It had ten
pages and four languages: English,
French, Dari and Pashtun.
Complete with unconfirmed reports,
this newspaper is truly a
free media source.
Editor Fahim Dashty said,
“Of course, we will be facing a
lot of problems in a community
that is not familiar with free media.
We will be facing some problems
with writing about governmental
agencies.” This is the
Kabul Weekly’s second attempt;
the first was shut down in 1996.
How would you feel if all of
our free speech rights were suddenly
taken away? In order to try
to understand what a great thing
this is for the people of Kabul, you
can put yourself in their shoes.
Next time you sit down to read a
newspaper or magazine, think
about what life would be like without
it. Would you feel isolated?
Illiteracy is a problem in Afghanistan,
but the organizers still
felt that a newspaper would be
better than a radio station, as it
has some degree of permanence.
“It doesn’t just go into the wind
like radio,” said Eric Davin of the
French non-governmental organization
Freedom is not just for
America; it is for everyone. Free
speech is now possible in Afghanistan.
Next time you use a
news source, remember the
people in Kabul who did not have
the opportunity to share their
opinions until recently.