Saturday, November 28, 2015

RFE/RL's Radio Azadi

RFE/RL's Radio Azadi is the leading media outlet in Afghanistan today, reaching nearly 38 percent of the Afghan population across the country with its radio, SMS and internet programs.


Fast Facts

  • Languages: Pashto, Dari
  • Coverage: 12 hours daily (7:00AM to 7:00 PM Kabul time)
  • Established: 1985 -1993, resumed 2002
  • Distribution: Radio (FM, AM, SW, satellite), Internet (website, mobile, social, YouTube)
  • Locations: Prague, Kabul
  • Staff: 30 (Prague), 52 (Kabul), 18 stringers in Afghanistan, two in Pakistan, one in Iran


Media Environment

  • Journalists in Afghanistan are under constant threat of violence and intimidation from warlords, the Taliban, and other extremists. Attempts have also been made to restrict media freedom in the name of “respect for Islamic values.” Defamation can be punished with imprisonment and/or a fine, while the punishment for blasphemy can be death.
  • The number of private television and radio stations has grown in Afghanistan considerably (from 22 in 2012 to 35 in 2015), leading to increased competition among media operating in the country.




  • Research shows that Radio Azadi is the most popular and trusted media outlets in Afghanistan. One of the leading news sources inside the country, its programs provide reliable information on the war on terror and extremism, corruption, warlordism, narcotics, human rights and other major political and socio-economic issues.
  • Radio Azadi's videojournalists produce videos and photo galleries for distribution online documenting major events in the country and the lives of women, youth and internally displaced people.
  • Working with a local mobile company, Radio Azadi’s free SMS news alerts reach 500,000 subscribers four times a day. In addition, people can send free of charge their SMS texts and photos. As a result, Radio Azadi receives up to 200 messages a day from citizen journalists.
  • Approximately 47 percent of the Afghan population is between the ages of 25-45. “New Thoughts” and the “Colors of Life” are feature programs that profile youth and women leaders and discuss issues of concern to young people in Afghanistan.
  • Call-in shows and roundtables are central to Radio Azadi's programming. As a result, despite decades of violence inside the country, it has developed a culture of debate and discussion among its listeners on local and major national and international issues. Through its unique program “In Search of Loved Ones,” Radio Azadi helps reunite families who have lost relatives to violence and war.
  • In May 2015, Radio Azadi received a letter of appreciation from the minority Hazara community for contributing to the return of 19 kidnapped Hazara men, through its continuous reporting and by giving a voice to their families for their safe release.
  • Radio Azadi was first to report on the shockingly brutal murder of Farkhunda, a young woman falsely accused of burning the Koran and killed by a mob in Kabul in March 2015. Azadi's coverage helped encourage hundreads of people to rallly in Kabul to demand justice for her death.
  • Radio Azadi supports the Haseeba Shaheed Memorial Fellowship annually to provide mentoring and support to aspiring women journalists in Afghanistan.

Updated: 26 August 2015

From Our Off-Mic Blog

Radio Azadi radio distribution in Khunar province

Radio Azadi Distributes 20,000 Radios In Afghanistan

RFE's Radio Azadi has distributed nearly all 20,000 solar-powered, hand-cranked radios to Afghans across the country. More

Facts & Stats

30.55 million (World Bank estimate, 2013)

Most Common Languages:
Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 148 out of 199 (2015)

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

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

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

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Afghanistan (2015)

Amnesty International:
Afghanistan Report (2014/2015)

Meet RFE/RL's Afghan Service

RFE/RL – A video grab of Radio Free Afghanistan’s Hashem Mohmand, from the briefing on Afghan-Pakistani security, Prague, 01Jul2008

Service Snapshots: Hashem Mohmand

Hashem Mohmand is the Director of RFE/RL's Afghanistan Service. We sat down with him to discuss his beginnings as a journalist. More