Internews in Afghanistan: An Update

Internews has supported the development of the Afghan media sector since 2002. However, following the Talibans’ sweep to power in August 2021, harsh restrictions on the media and threats of termination, physical and psychological abuse, and arbitrary arrests of journalists (particularly women) now restrict media freedoms and increase self-censorship.

Further, Afghanistan’s protracted economic collapse now limits media outlets’ access to donor funds and other support, shuttering hundreds of outlets and severing Afghan citizens’ access to critical information as their country faces numerous crises.

Despite these grim challenges, many media outlets remain operational – both in-country and in-exile – and are fighting to ensure that Afghan citizens can access public interest information.

Internews will continue supporting independent Afghan radio, TV, and online media outlets – both inside and outside of the country – to stay open, protect staff, adapt business models, and access additional funding.

We are committed to ensuring the survival of Afghanistan’s once-vibrant media sector. Here’s what we’re doing to help:

  • Media content production: Internews provides grants to independent media outlets in-country and in-exile to produce content on radio, TV, and digital platforms. We provide direct support to women journalists and women-led media organizations to ensure that women’s voices continue to be heard
  • Digital safety support: We provide remote mentoring and training to media outlets and journalists to assess and mitigate risks in digital spaces, use devices and platforms safely, detect malware, and access quality uncensored information. This includes digital security mentoring provided online to media partners, asynchronous online training, and self-learning digital security materials that journalists can access safely in-country.
  • Countering mis- and disinformation: Internews helps to counter misinformation through online fact-checking trainings for journalists. We also work remotely to increase accountability for disinformation generators and directly engage with platforms to limit misinformation.
  • Journalist safety and media violation tracking: Internews has provided crisis funds to Afghan journalists and provided grants to initiatives such as journalist safe houses. In addition, Internews partners with media support organizations to track media violations across the country.

Internews has been in Afghanistan for two decades, working alongside Afghan journalists, media entrepreneurs, and technologists as they fostered a media sector that, at its height, employed thousands of women, reached every province, and became one of the most trusted institutions in the country.

As ever, we will stand by independent Afghan media as they face today’s new – and increasingly difficult – challenges.