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RFE/RL’s Service To Pakistan’s Tribal Areas: Radio Mashaal

Radio Mashaal is an impactful alternative to extremist propaganda in Pakistan's tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan, investigating issues of local concern.


  • Mashaal engages Pashto-speaking audiences, especially youth, targeted by Taliban and militant groups since 2010.
  • Available via SW and AM radio, web, satellite, and social media.
  • Call-in shows mitigate audiences’ isolation by providing a bridge between residents and their political representatives.
  • Launched (2022) a podcast “Na Wailee Khabare,” which means discussion of taboo subjects.
  • Investigative team uncovered kidnapping, forced conversion, and forced marriages of underage Hindu girls in Pakistan.
  • Counters extremist public health propaganda, informing Pakistan’s remote communities about the importance of polio eradication campaigns.
  • Released documentary about women resisting discrimination and thriving in education, employment, and sports.
  • Over one million people followed Mashaal’s coverage when Prime Minister Imran Khan outsted from office (2022).
  • Investigated attacks against Chinese workers in Pakistan by separatist militants.


  • Youth Action Committee honored reporter Samad Shabnam for coverage of a flood-affected remote area.


January – December 2022

  • Website And Apps: 1.2 million visits; 2.2 million page views
  • Facebook: 170.3 million video views; 47.1 million engaged users
  • YouTube: 1.7 million video views; 207,000 subscribers
  • Instagram: 1.7 million video views; 197,000 followers

Updated: April 2023

Media Climate

  • Government closed Islamabad bureau and blocked websites (2018).
  • Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranks Pakistan 157th out of 180 countries, one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.

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