(May 19, 2010) Children who are forced to beg, cigarette smoking and access
to education are just a few of the issues discussed on *Radio Kodak*, a
program that follows the activities of a fictional radio station run by a
group of children.
Another under-represented group in the media – people with disabilities –
has a voice through a Salam Watandar program, *Qahir-I Qahraman* ("Qahir the
Champion"). Produced by a team of three disabled radio journalists, it is an
educational and advocacy program about Afghanistan's over 1.5 million
disabled citizens, most of them victims of war. The program includes news,
information, a weekly drama and advice for people with disabilities.
Advocates credit the program with increased enrollment at rehabilitation and
special education centers for disabled people and the ground-breaking People
with Disabilities Law. *Qahir-I Qahraman* also discourages the use of
derogatory terms for the disabled such as "lame" and "retarded" and
encourages more appropriate attitudes using drama and storytelling.
"*Qahir-I Qahraman* is the only program of its kind in Afghanistan," says
producer Haji Nader. "It is the voice of people with disabilities.
Wherever we travel in Afghanistan, advocates for people with disabilities
tell us how much they appreciate our program."
After Losing His Legs, an Afghan Man Finds Hope from a Unique Radio
Internews ensures the inclusion of women at every level in its media
development projects in Afghanistan. Women are hired as trainers and
administrators of the project and, in 2010, forty percent of Salam
Watandar's on air presenters will be women.
*Hawa* (Eve) is Salam Watandar's weekly program about Afghan women and young
girls. Broadcast in two weekly editions, one in Pashtu and one in Dari, the
programs include interviews with successful women, reports from the
provinces, tips on home economics, information about basic health care and
advice on a range of gender issues, such as services for victims of domestic
violence. It seeks to empower women through education and by promoting their
inclusion in business and economic arenas.
Youth Media Project The *Afghan Youth Voices
* http://www.afghanyouthvoices.com/ will provide an opportunity for
Afghanistan's youth to express their ideas and dreams about their future
through the media. The aim for the festival is to support the next
generation of leaders to discover the power of their creativity and learn to
express their voices through different mediums including radio, television,
the internet, blogging, photography, posters, art and music. Over 4 months,
young people and youth groups will become involved in media projects and
activities that engage youth in media production, inspiring and legitimizing
active youth participation in public debate. Their work will be showcased
during Youth Media Week held from 4th to 10th August 2010.
For those Afghans who don't have access to the Internet, the radio program *
Weblogistan* reflects the voice of Afghan youth in the blogosphere. This
month, the program profiled several new blogs and their unique takes on the
upcoming parliamentary elections, the Mujahideen Victory Day and Hamid
Karzai's visit to Washington. "Not only is the number of Afghan bloggers on
the rise, but Afghan bloggers have also become more sophisticated," says
producer Mojtaba Qayoomi. "Today, many bloggers instantly comment on the
day's news. In contrast to mainstream reporters, they are also much more
direct and pointed in their critique of important social issues. Bamyan
bloggers, for example, have taken up the cause of a lack of reconstruction
projects in their province, which the mainstream media has ignored."
Salam Watandar, Internews' radio programming service in Afghanistan, is
staffed by an all-Afghan team of journalists, producers and technicians.
Salam Watandar's primary goal is the production of accurate,
locally-produced news, current affairs, educational and cultural programming
for a national Afghan audience, with particular consideration being given to
provincial audiences. Ongoing programming consists of hourly news bulletins
that are broadcast live from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., six days per week. Each
hourly bulletin is alternated in both Dari and Pashtu languages.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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