Afghanistan: Women’s radio station back on air in Balkh

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A radio station run by women, for women, in Balkh province is back on air after it was forced to close down in 2020 due to damage sustained in a fire.

Now, with the help of UNAMA and the Journalists Safety Committee, Rabia Balkhi Radio has resumed broadcasts, which include religious, educational and other informative programs.

Rabia Balkhi Radio officials said they currently have 11 employees, of which 10 are women.

“With the reactivation of the network, 11 employees are working here, and our broadcasts will continue, including religious, educational, informational programs and programs that people need,” said Shakibab Mowahid, head of the radio station.

She said that in the past, 25 women and six men worked at the radio station but they have reduced the number of employees due to restrictions and economic problems.

“The activation of Radio Rabia Balkhi, which is a special radio for women, shows the support of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) for women journalists in Afghanistan,” said Zabihullah Noorani, head of the Taliban’s information and culture department in Balkh.

Radio Rabia Balkhi was the first women’s radio station in Balkh province, which started broadcasting on March 9, 2003, in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif. The founders of the radio station were  Faridah Paktin and Mobina Saee.

“We are trying to support journalists so that women journalists can also stand next to men and raise their voices and there will be no obstacles for them in their work,” said Abdul Latif Sohak, the head of the Journalists Safety Committee in Balkh.

Ahead of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, more than 300 journalists and media workers worked in Balkh province, and about 120 of them were women. Now there are only about 100 journalists working at 16 media outlets in the province.