Sunday, November 29, 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. In March 2015 a Mashaal reporter was arrested by Pakistani intelligence agents, and in June 2015, another Mashaal journalist was forced to quit his job due to increasing threats.
  • 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'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 the visitors to its website are from the region, and nearly 550,000 people are fans of Mashaal’s Facebook page, despite very low internet penetration among its target audience.
  • In July and August 2015, four Radio Mashaal video reports on the demolition of a Pashtun-dominated shanty-town in Islamabad by Pakistani authorities reached nearly 2.9 million people via Facebook and were watched nearly 700,000 times.
  • In March 2015, the Pashtun-nationalist Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party awarded certificates of appreciation to Radio Mashaal and VOA’s Radio Deewa for their singular coverage of the IDP crisis.
  • 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. Mashaal's reporting kept parents and local officials informed of their situation, and was instrumental in efforts to re-unite the girls with their families.
  • In May 2012, in order to promote religious, social and cultural tolerance, Radio Mashaal launched a live music program combining content banned by the Taliban with audience participation.
  • 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, her recovery and advocacy activities, and the award to her in December 2014 of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Updated: 19 August 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