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Afghan Women Selected For New RFE/RL Fellowship Program

Female students of American University of Afghanistan attend new orientation sessions at a American University | Kabul, March 27, 2017

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi, has launched the Azadi Courage Fellowship to mark 18 years as an independent and trusted news source in Afghanistan.

Giti Sediqi and Mahnza Noori, top graduates of Kabul University’s journalism faculty, have been selected as the first fellows in the program, which will provide them training and mentoring in professional journalism on broadcast and digital platforms, with a focus on politics and current affairs. The fellowship is for six-months at Radio Azadi’s Kabul bureau.

“Social issues are very important for us, but there are very few female voices in current affairs and politics in the Afghan media,” said RFE/RL Afghan Service Director Qadir Habib. “That is why it is important that our fellows receive this training, to raise their profiles in these areas.”

The fellowship program honors three Radio Azadi journalists, Sabawoon Kakar, Abadullah Haninzai, and Mahram Durani, who were killed in coordinated suicide bomb attacks in Kabul in April 2018. It is funded by the purse attached to the United States Agency for Global Media’s (USAGM) Burke Award, which Radio Azadi received in 2019 in recognition of its colleagues’ courage.

RFE/RL’s Afghan Service, which reports in Dari and Pashto, is an online pioneer and media leader in Afghanistan, reaching 25 percent of the adult audience nationally. Its YouTube channel has more than 41 million views and over 127,000 subscribers.