(Prague, Czech Republic -- January 30, 2007) Radio Free Afghanistan, the Dari and Pashto language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, today celebrates five years on the air, broadcasting 12 hours daily to millions of regular listeners nationwide.
Radio Free Afghanistan is the leading broadcaster in Afghanistan with an audience of nearly 60 percent of the adult population. An independent survey, conducted by the Washington-based Intermedia research organization in 2006, shows that Radio Free Afghanistan is regarded as the most trustworthy and reliable media in the country. During the recent three-day Festival of Lights or Eid religious holiday, Radio Free Afghanistan received more than 1,600 telephone calls to its Kabul Bureau and thousands of letters from listeners. People also tune in regularly to Radio Free Afghanistan from across the border in Iran and neighboring Central Asian countries.
In Washington, Broadcasting Board of Governors Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson noted, "Our broadcasts on Radio Free Afghanistan not only have had a significant impact on the Afghan people, but have played an important role in helping people in this country to gain a better understanding of the importance of the work we do in international broadcasting."
Acting RFE/RL President Jeffrey N. Trimble said, "Afghans tune in to Radio Free Afghanistan because they know that is where they will hear accurate, useful and comprehensive information. With more than 35 reporters in its Kabul bureau and a network of correspondents located throughout Afghanistan, Radio Free Afghanistan is usually first with important local news."
The widespread influence of the station was demonstrated by a recent call from a listener in western Afghanistan, who said he had been offered $10,000 to be a suicide bomber and had planned to blow himself up--but changed his mind after listening to a special program about suicide bombers broadcast on Radio Free Afghanistan.
More than half of Radio Free Afghanistan's programs are produced locally in its Kabul Bureau. Additional programming is produced at RFE/RL's broadcast headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic. The service also maintains a team of seven correspondents who report from Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Egypt and the United States.
In mark its 5th anniversary, Radio Free Afghanistan is airing special programs all week, including audio highlights of exclusive interviews with U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Afghan cabinet ministers and other dignitaries. Today, the Afghan Communications Minister visited Radio Free Afghanistan's Kabul Bureau, to present an Award of Appreciation to the station for excellence in broadcasting.
An important aspect of Radio Free Afghanistan programming is giving voice to ordinary Afghans and providing information in special programs on health, the education of women, and thefundamentals of democracy. Two of Radio Free Afghanistan's most popular programs are a call-in talk show that reunites family members dispersed by war and occupation, and a weekly program called "Let Us Know Your Village," in which listeners contribute stories about rural life.
Radio Free Afghanistan programs are transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by the International Broadcasting Bureau. Radio Free Afghanistan programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's trilingual website www.azadiradio.org
and at www.rferl.org
; English-language news about events in Afghanistan
can be found on the RFE/RL website.