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Afghan Media Incredibly Strengthened: Rashedi

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Kabul (BNA) Considered the fourth pillar of the state, media has been strengthened incredibly in Afghanistan over the past decade, senior Information and Culture Ministry official said on Monday. 
“There have been many positive changes on the media landscape since the establishment of the interim government more than a decade ago,” Deputy Information and Culture Minister Mubarez Rashidi claimed. 
During an exclusive interview with a media, he said the Taliban regime did not allow TV channels to broadcast programs, even Afghanistan National Television programs were off the air and very few print media outlets operated in the country. 
Since the collapse of the Taliban regime, the number of visual, audio and print media outlets had soared to 1,400 including 50 TV stations, Rashidi said. 
Except the national television, previously known as Radio Television of Afghanistan (RTA), all other channels are privately run. 
As many as 150 radio satins, including 34 government-controlled entities, are airing their programs across the country, he added.  “of 1,200 media outlets, including daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly newspapers and magazines and TV stations registered with the ministry of information and culture, 800 outlets are operational,” he said. 
The number of media outlets increased because they were welcomed by people, he said, adding the enormous increase had empowered the media to be considered as the fourth pillar of the government. 
“The media is considered the fourth pillar until it remains professional.  Otherwise, it can harm and mislead the society,” he added. 
Donor countries paid attention to the media in Afghanistan because it reflected the voice of people and served a strong counterweight to the government, he said. 
“People in Afghanistan refer their problems and cases to media outlets before moving a court in this regard. 
This shows how much strong the media is here,” he said. Rashidi also hinted at some weaknesses in the media, saying it should also focus on education and culture programs like shows, dramas and entertainment.

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