Afghanistan profile - Media

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image captionNewspapers reflect more openly on domestic issues than do TV, radio

Most media outlets are privately-owned and the broadcasting market is crowded.

There are dozens of TV networks and more than 170 FM radio stations. Moby Group operates some of the leading stations, including the most-watched network Tolo TV.

Much of the output on private TVs consists of Turkish and Indian music shows and serials, and programmes modelled on Western formats.

BBC World Service radio is available on FM in other major cities and on shortwave across the country.

There are sporadic broadcasts by FM radio outlets operated by the Taliban and Islamic State group.

Hundreds of press titles publish under a wide range of ownerships. Privately-owned daily Hasht-e Sobh is the most popular newspaper.

Newspapers tend to reflect more openly on domestic developments than do broadcasters.

International watchdogs paint a bleak picture of media freedom. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in 2019 that "the war imposed by the Taliban and Islamic State and constant abuses by warlords and corrupt political officials constitute a permanent threat to journalists, the media, and press freedom."

Freedom House has said that high-level officials, including the president, "frequently question the validity of stories critical of the government and attempt to discredit journalists".

Laws ban material that is deemed to be against Islamic law and some private stations have angered religious conservatives. TV stations self-censor and often partially-pixelate images of women.

There were 6.5 million internet users by the end of 2018, 17.6 per cent of the population (

Facebook is used by some younger Afghans and the political elite. But limited and expensive internet access acts as a brake on social media use.

The press

  • Arman FM - Afghanistan's first private radio station, on FM in Kabul and other cities
  • Arakozia FM - private, operated by Moby Group
  • Radio Afghanistan - run by state broadcaster National Radio-TV Afghanistan (NRTA); also operates Kabul Radio FM 93 in the capital and 32 provincial stations
  • Salam Watandar - non-profit production house, has 47 partner stations
  • Kilid Group (TKG) - US/EU-funded public media group comprising 11 local radios
  • National Television Afghanistan - run by state broadcaster (RTA), via terrestrial relays and satellite
  • Tolo TV - leading private network, operated by Moby Group; via provincial relays and satellite
  • TOLOnews - Moby Group's news network, via satellite; website in English
  • Lemar TV - private, Pashto-language sister station of Tolo TV
  • Ariana TV - private, broadcasts terrestrially in many provinces and via satellite to Asia, Europe and North America
  • Shamshad TV - private, available terrestrially in major cities
  • 1 TV - private, broadcasts to major cities terrestrially

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