Four people stand apart from each other on a dusty road. Houses and mountains are in the background.

In Afghanistan, Economic Conditions are Hampering Efforts by Media to Provide Information on COVID-19

May 11, 2020
Communities in hard-hit Herat Province need information about how to prevent the virus

Khalil Amiri is a journalist and Executive Manager of Faryad Radio & TV in Afghanistan’s Herat province which has the highest incidence of COVID-19 in the country. Faryad Radio & TV is a grantee of Internews’ Rapid Response Fund, established to support local journalism in the time of COVID-19.

In Herat, police have set up checkpoints on the main roads to enforce a lockdown.

“Our biggest challenge in reporting the coronavirus is that main roads and ways are blocked by security forces,” said Khalil. “We have to walk for several hours to get to the office, or for interviewing health sources, we have to continue walking. This wastes a lot of our time.”

With the shutdown of businesses, the income from advertising that the station relies on has been almost completely lost. Although the local government has asked media outlets to help with raising awareness about COVID-19 prevention measures, they have not provided economic support to do so.

Faryad TV will use their funds from Internews to continue their campaign on COVID-19 and to advocate for reducing the pandemic’s socioeconomic impact on the local community.

The pandemic crisis is also an information crisis, and journalists are the first responders. In an emergency, information saves lives. Hear from more journalists and information providers, as they grapple to stay operational and report on the crisis.

(Banner photo: Landscape and village, Herat Province, Afghanistan. Credit: Marius Arnesen/Wikipedia/CC)