Saturday, August 01, 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. Its Pashto language coverage targeting youth, women’s issues, human rights, and health care is unique in Pakistan’s deeply conservative tribal regions.
  • Radio Mashaal's reporting is constantly cited by leading international media.   Its video coverage of an attack on a school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 was carried by CNN, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Yahoo News, Fox-Video, and other outlets.
  • 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 May 2012, Mashaal launched a live music program combining content banned by the Taliban with audience participation to promote religious, social and cultural tolerance.
  • In August 2014, Pakistan’s Tribal Union of Journalists honored Radio Mashaal for providing "the best coverage of the huge displacement of people" forced from their homes by the Pakistan army's military operation in North Waziristan. .
  • In November 2014, Radio Mashaal broke the story of 26 young girls who were abandoned by their sponsors and left stranded at a religious school in Karachi. Radio Mashaal's reporting kept parents and local MPs informed of the girls' situation, and was instrumental to efforts to re-unite them with their families.
  • Radio Mashaal’s relationship with Malala Yousafzai and her family enabled the network to provide authoritative, up-to-the minute reporting on the October 2012 attempt on the young activist’s life, and continued multimedia coverage of her recovery and advocacy activities, culminating with her award of the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014. 

Updated: 9 June 2015

Facts & Stats

Map of Pakistan
182.1 million (World Bank estimate, 2013)

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

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 142 out of 199 (2015)

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 (2015)

Amnesty International:
Pakistan Report (2014/2015)

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