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RFE/RL’s Afghan Service: Radio Azadi

Radio Azadi is an online pioneer and media leader in Afghanistan, reaching nearly half of the adult audience nationally with reporting that promotes human rights and peace on radio, SMS, and the Internet.

Fast Facts

  • Radio Azadi, operating out of Kabul and supported by a network of local, Dari- and Pashto-speaking journalists that spans the country, is one of the most popular and trusted media outlets in Afghanistan -- a December 2019 survey found that 46.9% of Afghan adults use Azadi content on a weekly basis.
  • Radio Azadi reports on subjects including politics, extremism, corruption, culture, and minority issues that are under-reported or misreported by other media.
  • It is a leader in online video journalism, and, when calamity strikes, a first responder.
  • Programs like New Thoughts, Female Leaders, and Fresh Air appeal to the country’s near-majority youth population and offer a unique platform for women.
  • Its call-in shows and roundtables promote a culture of discussion and debate on societal issues. The program In Search of Loved Ones has helped reunite families who have suffered dislocation because of violence and war.
  • Radio Azadi regularly produces stories that directly affect people’s lives. Stories profiling a 12 year old boy who works to support a family of 30, or a war widow who walks her son to school every day to make sure he doesn’t suffer the fate of his father who was killed in fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, have prompted government action and public donations of support. Radio Azadi’s special projects like Peace: 101 Women have given Afghan women a platform express themselves about the ongoing peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in Qatar.
  • In press freedom rankings, Afghanistan is ranked 122nd out of 180 countries by Reporters Without Borders. Journalists are under constant threat of violence and intimidation from warlords, religious leaders, the Taliban, and other extremist groups. Three Radio Azadi journalists were killed on April 30, 2018 in a suicide bomb attack in Kabul. In November 2020, a Helmand-based Radio Azadi journalist was murdered in a targeted bomb attack.

Impact

January – December, 2020

  • Website and Apps: Dari: 4.49 million visits, 7 million page views; Pashto: 3.99 million visits, 6.6 million page views; English: nearly 500,000 visits, 650,505 page views
  • Facebook: Dari: 113.5 million video views, over 2.9 million followers, almost 40 million engaged users; Pashto: 65.8 million video views, over 1.7 million followers, 26.2 million engaged users; English: 176,000 video views, 95,100 followers; 703,400 engaged users
  • YouTube: 5.1 million views, 142,000 subscribers
  • Instagram: Dari: 4.1 million IGTV views, 240,250 subscribers; Pashto: 560,000 IGTV views, 70,500 subscribers

Updated: January 2021

Facts & Stats about Afghanistan

  • Population: 37.17 million (World Bank estimate, 2018)
  • Most Common Languages: Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi
  • Press Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, ranked 130 out of 198 (2017)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 121 out of 180 (2019)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 173 out of 180 (2019)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 163 out of 163 (2019)
  • Human Rights Watch: Report on Afghanistan (2019)
  • Amnesty International: Afghanistan Report (2019)​

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