Radio Azadi pashto logo
|Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
Radio Azadi (formerly Radio Free Afghanistan) is the Afghan branch of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) broadcast services. It broadcasts 12 hours daily as part of a 24-hour stream of programming in conjunction with Voice of America (VOA). Radio Free Afghanistan first aired in Afghanistan from 1985 to 1993 and was re-launched in January 2002. Radio Azadi produces a variety of cultural, political, and informational programs that are transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by the International Broadcasting Bureau. Radio Azadi’s mission is "to promote and sustain democratic values and institutions in Afghanistan by disseminating news, factual information and ideas".
The U.S. Congress appropriated funding for broadcasting to Afghanistan in December 2001 as part of an effort to build a peaceful and democratic country, following the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime. Radio Free Afghanistan has since built a substantial audience in Afghanistan, with surveys showing it as the most popular radio station in the country. Radio Azadi produces a variety of programming—from special programs for youth and women to political satires and music and literary programs.
Media Environment in Afghanistan
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Journalists in Afghanistan are under constant threat of intimidation from warlords, the Taliban, and other extremists. Attempts have also been made to tighten media control in the name of “respect for Islamic values.” Concurrently, the number of private television and radio stations has grown in Afghanistan, leading to increased competition among media operating in the country.
Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty first launched this service on October 1, 1985 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989). Its purpose was "to bring objective and uncensored news and information to the population and resistance forces of Soviet-occupied Afghanistan."  The service initially consisted of twice-weekly thirty minute broadcasts in Dari and later expanded to hour-long broadcasts five days a week in Pashto and Dari. Radio Free Afghanistan was the first expansion of RFE/RL’s broadcast area in thirty years. Broadcasts stopped in 1993 for budgetary purposes and began again in 2001 following the U.S. Invasion of Afghanistan. Congress authorized the appropriation of eight million dollars in operating costs for FY 2002 and nine million dollars in capital costs that would fund the construction of a new shortwave transmitter in Kuwait.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. recently launched a new exhibit named "Voices From Afghanistan" showcasing some of the thousands of handwritten scrolls and letters sent by listeners.
Recent awards: David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for “enormous courage in continuing to deliver the news to their fellow citizens”; two National Union of Journalists of Afghanistan awards for aiding the reconstruction of Afghan society through balanced and objective reporting and Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries award for excellent in reporting.
In the run-up to Afghanistan’s presidential elections in 2009, Radio Azadi hosted a historic presidential debate featuring President Hamid Karzai and two of his leading contenders. It was Afghanistan’s first-ever debate to feature an incumbent president and was televised on Afghan national TV.
- Radio free Afghanistan website in Dari
- Radio Free Afghanistan website in Pashto
- Radio Free Afghanistan website in English
- Voices From Afghanistan Exhibit Website
- Noticias De La Radio Website http://yimber-gaviria.blogspot.com/2009/12/czech-republic-radio-azadi-trains-next.html
- Radio Azadi Fact Sheet. http://www.rferl.org/info/Afghanistan/181.html
- Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, 2009: 149th/175. http://www.rsf.org/IMG/pdf/classement_en.pdf
- James Clarity and Warren Weaver “Briefing; Come In, Afghanistan” The New York Times. October 1, 1985 http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C07E1DA1239F932A35753C1A963948260
- Sosin, Gene, "Sparks of Liberty: An Insider's Memoir of Radio Liberty" (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999):196.
- Senate Report 107-125- Authorization of Radio Free Afghanistan. The Library of Congress.14, December 2001 http://www.thomas.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?sel=DOC&&item=&r_n=sr125&&&r_n=sr125&&dbname=cp107&&sid=cp107ogIqr&&refer=&&&db_id=cp107&&hd_count=&
- Library of Congress http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/voicesfromafghanistan/Pages/default.aspx
- PBS http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/blog/2010/03/on-radio-free-afghanistan-time-for-letters.html
- Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/10/AR2010031003768.html
- BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p007bbv4
- Voices From Afghanistan. http://www.rferl.org/content/off_mic_voices_from_afghanistan_exhibit/1966134.html
- Broadcasting Board of Governors Website http://www.bbg.gov/pressroom/pressreleases-article.cfm?articleID=163
- Afghan Press Online http://www.aopnews.com/lotw/elections2009.shtml
- American Free Press http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gfQgfWUfxUgSqGT1tJvZUrlpDdQg
- Washington Watch http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/ED_7116.html