Saturday, March 28, 2015

RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

Radio Mashaal was launched in January 2010 in order to provide reliable reporting in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.


Fast Facts

  • Language: Pashto
  • Established: 2010
  • Distribution: Radio (AM, SW), Internet (website, mobile, YouTube, social media)
  • Coverage: 9 hours daily
  • Locations: Prague, Islamabad
  • Staff: 24 (Prague), 23 stringers


Media Environment

  • Pakistan is consistently ranked among the most dangerous countries for journalists, as they are caught between warring political parties, the security forces and militant or extremist networks.
  • Radio Mashaal and its correspondents have been named in Fatwas attributed to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and directly threatened by former TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who called Mashaal “enemy radio.” Extremists routinely threaten, kidnap, and attack journalists. 


  • Radio Mashaal provides local and international news and in-depth political reporting featuring local policy makers and tribal elders. It broadcasts several programs that are unique in the region, dedicated to youth, women’s issues, human rights and health care.
  • Radio Mashaal has an active presence online; 46 percent of website visitors are from the region and an average of 376,000 fans a month have engaged with its Facebook page in 2014, despite very low internet penetration among its target audience.
  • In August 2014, the Tribal Union of Journalists, a body of journalists from the tribal areas of Pakistan, has honored Radio Mashaal for providing "the best coverage of the huge displacement of people" forced from their homes by the Pakistani Army's military operation in North Waziristan.
  • In May 2012, Mashaal launched a live music program combining content banned by the Taliban with audience participation that highlights the need for religious, social and cultural tolerance.
  • Radio Mashall extensively covered the Pakistani military operation in North Waziristan that was launched in July 2014 as well the subsequent IDP (internally displaced persons) crisis. This coverage was greatly appreciated by the Grand Jirga.
  • Radio Mashaal broke the story of 26 young girls from the tribal area who were stranded in November at a religious school in Karachi. The girls had been sent by their families to Karachi to receive a free religious education, but were subsequently abandoned by the program’s sponsors. Once the story had broken, parents and local MPs relied on Radio Mashaal to help process and re-unite the girls with their families.
  • Radio Mashaal extensively covered Malala and conducted an exclusive audio and video interview when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014.
  • Radio Mashaal coverage of a school attack on December 16, 2014 in Peshawar was published by CNN, The New Yorker, Atlantic, Yahoo News, Fox-Video, and several others, leading to millions of views of the Radio Mashaal Facebook page.

Updated: 26 March 2015

Facts & Stats

Map of Pakistan
179.2 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraiki, Pashto, Urdu

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 141 out of 197 (2014)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
159 out of 180 (2015)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
126 out of 175 (2014)

Global Peace Index (IES):
154 out of 162 (2014)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Pakistan (2013)

Amnesty International:
Pakistan Report (2013)

Meet Radio Mashaal

Maliha Amirzada - Radio Mashaal

Service Snapshots: Maliha Amirzada

Maliha Amirzada is a correspondent for RFE's Radio Mashaal. We caught up with her to discuss Radio Mashaal and its impact on Pashtun society. More