Hashem Mohmand is the Director of RFE/RL's Radio Azadi. He has worked for the past 24 years as broadcaster, editor, and senior editor in RFE's Tajik and Afghan services. In the 1990s, he was the chief editor of "Breeze of Freedom," a magazine covering the Afghan Diaspora in Europe. What impact is Radio Azadi having in Afghanistan?
Radio Azadi is one of the most listened-to radio stations in Afghanistan. Recent surveys show that people believe Radio Azadi is the most reliable news source in the country – and not just ordinary people, but government officials, and even the Taliban. In this respect, the effect is enormous.
What is one popular program or aspect of your service that is making a difference?
Radio Azadi is the most reliable news source in the country – and not just ordinary people, but government officials, and even the Taliban. In this respect, the effect is enormous.
We have a variety of programs that appeal to all people from all walks of life. We have news, but we also have a satire program, a music program, a program for women, youth, etc. And all are very well received. We have two popular call-in shows twice a week. They are bilingual, and they give listeners a chance to express their concerns – be they political, economic, or social in nature. Another is a weekly show in which we try to find missing loved ones. During the confusion of the war, many families lost track of relatives so people will call in and we will try to find them. We have had many successes. What motivated you to get into journalism?
I myself was a victim of the Communist regime. I spent several months in prison. I was tortured. I discovered that Azadi had a message of freedom and tolerance. That people have the right to determine their own lives. Since I speak the native languages, as well as English and German, this was the perfect environment for me. Even though this is my 24th year, I am not tired. When I see the appreciation of our work, I am very proud of my colleagues. It shows that we have been successful. I am happy to be a part of this mission and of this organization.