I was really fascinated by the visiting Afghan radio producers in the Humphrey seminar class yesterday from Afghan Media Management and Entrepreneurship Program.
Some quotes from the producers that I wanted to highlight
- “We should get public opinion about freedom of media, once they understand the importance of it, they will support it.”
- “With time, government will bow to pressure of people and they will agree with us. The most important thing is to work with people.”
- “Professionalism and patience is needed.”
I’m really encouraged and hopeful that the state of media in Afghanistan will become more efficient, free and sustainable after hearing the passion and enthusiasm from our guests to garner grassroots support and growth. They have so much more to deal with in their country with the current unstable government, conflict and lack of resources supporting the media institutions.
The most serious issue they brought up that I am concerned about is if the financial and administrative support from the international community leaves, what ways can Afghans sustain their business? This is a problem in all societies dependent on aid and we have to decide what role we will play in slowly transferring ownership. It even reminds me of our country’s plan to drawdown troops. If military intervention is not there, then at least the democratic values of free press and speech will remain and plant the seeds for a more stable, democratic environment.