Many journalists were forced to leave the country and sought asylum elsewhere since Taliban’s take-over of Kabul on August 15, 2021. This geographically dispersed community faces many challenges if it wants to continue practicing its profession. A new exploratory study by the JX Fund aims to conduct a needs assessment targeted at Afghan journalists and media professionals living in exile.
The growing number of journalists in exile has fostered the emergence of Afghan exiled media worldwide. On the one hand, well-established outlets have re-opened their offices operating from abroad. This includes newspapers, like Hasht-e-Subh and Etilaat Roz or radio stations like Radio Azadi. On the other hand, prominent Afghan journalists in exile have founded several new platforms, such as Amu TV or Zan Times. Many of these exiled media deploy a hybrid approach of collaborating with journalists inside Afghanistan for information and content creation, whereas management and publication are organized from abroad. At the same time, many experienced Afghan journalists in exile are still unable to return to their profession.
INSIGHTS FROM 154 AFGHAN JOURNALISTS IN EXILE
The exploratory study is based on an online survey conducted by the JX Fund during the period of September 27 to November 8, 2023. This non-representative study has successfully attracted a diverse sample of 154 Afghan journalists located in 14 different countries. The online questionnaire covered a range of different topics, such as: current personal situation; professional background and current professional situation; concepts of media in exile; skills and needs of journalists in exile; perception of the Afghan media community in exile, as well as the broader Afghan diaspora.
CLEAR NEED FOR SUPPORT
Findings indicate that Afghan exiled journalists worldwide struggle to continue practicing their profession. Even among the few who still work in media, the vast majority depend on additional sources of income. This demonstrates a clear need for support, especially since many respondents aspire to establish their own medium in exile in the future and would like to continue working in the field. Most Afghan journalists in exile would like to continue to report on Afghanistan related issues and thus reach Afghans both inside and outside the country with their independent stories.
STRONG DEMAND IN EXCHANGE AND NETWORKS
Most of the participants rated solidarity within the Afghan media community as either low or very low. This trend is even more pronounced in Germany. At the same time, an absolute majority of the respondents indicated a very high interest in connecting with the Afghan media community in the countries where they are currently based or in other countries.