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  • Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan media sector has experienced dramatic growth in all areas: television, radio, print, internet, mobile phones. As such, the sector holds tremendous potential for making significant contributions to peacebuilding in the country.
  • However, the media sector also confronts numerous challenges that impede its ability to realize this potential - which can only be addressed through the combined efforts and attention of international and domestic stakeholders alike.
  • Among the most pressing challenges is resolving the tension between information operations and counterinsurgency, on the one hand, and developing a viable, credible media sector on the other. All too often efforts to counter extremist messages through expanded military and government access to the airwaves (via purchased air time and proliferating "radio in a box" broadcasts from military outposts) have had a negative impact on both media market economics and media credibility.
  • Sustainability is also a significant issue. A glut of media outlets has arisen that are privately licensed yet sustained by international donor funds and strategic communications money. This has had a deleterious effect on the perception of media, and its effectiveness as a guardian of public interests. The shortcomings of state-owned RTA as a public broadcaster further contribute to this, leading many experts to call for greater investment in long-term training and mentoring as well as regulatory reform to limit government manipulation of the airwaves.
  • Other significant areas for improvement: greater emphasis on quality and diversity of programming (including a need for more Pashto language programs), enhanced efforts to provide security for media practitioners, more professional communications training for Afghan government officials, and more extensive research and understanding of Afghan media consumers themselves.

About This Brief

This report is based on a February 23, 2010 meeting of experts on media and conflict convened by the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding to consider opportunities and challenges for peacebuilding media in Afghanistan. The session featured presentations by distinguished experts representing the full range of media activities in country, including strategic communications, public diplomacy, radio/television/Internet/cell phone programming, training and regulation. More than 50 policymakers, producers, government officials, military officers and scholars attended the daylong meeting. Sheldon Himelfarb, executive director of USIP’s Center of Innovation for Media, moderated the session and prepared this report with the assistance of Colin Durkin.


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Tags: Afghanistan, Media and Peacebuilding, Peace Brief, USIP

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There has been an amazing amount of new peace effforts in the Afghan War from the Government of India. Despite past hostility to the Taliban India told Afghan Presdent Karzai that they would go along with what ever Karzai and the Taliban work out,

At one point the Saudisrefused to mediate unless the Taliban first denounce bin Laden,



Several former Afghan hawks now think any more war their is a waste,


At one point a peace group met with the then head of Pakistan


May 2011 would be a good time for these past effort to continue


Richad Kane



The feeling in the US that the US fighting in Afghanistan serves no, or now serves no useful purpose is growing. Perhaps purposing small steps could get peace steps rolling


I wrote a blog article, “Small is Beautiful Afghan Peace Steps”,

but the feedback I got so-far is that it is hard to follow, so I’ll try to write a clear summary.


Possibly the worst scenario for US excite from Afghanistan would be a situation similar to Black Friday at the beginning of the depression where the dollar rather than just the stock market suddenly loses most of it’s value. Then the next day US troops head home under panicky conditions, as panic spreads among any Afghan who might suspect that the Taliban may have some reason to be mad at them. At the very minimum, if things are more orderly, the Taliban would have no problem agreeing to stay out of Kabul for a month, or/and a temporary transitional government there. Hong Cong maintaining somewhat different laws than the rest of China, which ends up making a whole lot of business sense there. So it’s possible that the US leaving will lead to happy memories unlike the years following Soviet withdrawal.


My unique suggestion similar to what Martin Luther King might suggest that the Taliban suddenly announce that they want to appoint Hamid Karzai to me the Mayor of Kabul, and make American soldiers and Afghan government officials less interested in continuing to fight.


By Richard Kane


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