To create a sense of effective communication the medium of expression is the key tool. Typically, media is defined as a form of technology that conveys messages. This is inclusive of all types of audiences at various positions, such as regions, country and the world. The modes of communication between different societies are multiplex. In this, the thoughts and ideas of individuals are produced and exchanged through networks. Commenter Marshall McLuhan used the term ‘Media’ for the first time. He used it while referring to communication. This term is sometimes used singular and sometimes plural; the singular is medium and the plural is media.
Afghanistan from the year 1996 till 2001 was a country out of the picture in international affairs. The incidents taking place in the country did not make it to the limelight nor captured accordingly. Unfortunately, the global media was prompt to negatively amplify the Anti-Islam agenda – soon after Taliban took over Kabul Government. The media activity of Afghanistan came to a halt and later came under the scrutiny of the governing Party. After the ouster of the Emarat Taliban in the year 2001; then the Media system entered a fresh period again. In the year 2018, based on official statistics of the government, the number of media outreach was 2455 including televisions, radio stations and press release. Access and usage of speedy internet are currently boosting up to approximately 10 million people. People who now have access to the internet and cyberspace in Afghanistan.
Current Situation of Media in Afghanistan
In current situations, countries misuse media as a negative mental tool as ideas are pitched against each other. This is observed in Indo-Pak media exchanges. All networks of these countries go against each other as a result of which the conflict increases. In 2020 a report by the EU Disinfo Lab uncovered the findings of a 15-year-long operation, built around dissemination of news & information through media outlets.
According to Fayez Jafar Faisal, journalist and writer; “With no doubt, media plays a significant role. This is not only in maintaining the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan; it can also play a constructive role in the choice of political and diplomatic policies of the country”.
Political anomalies and various factors have profoundly affected the political relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unfortunately, the media of both countries do not work with a constructive spirit. The reason for this is, the media is not fully independent in the full sense of the word. Ultimately, the media usually operates under the thought sphere of its governments.
He further reiterated; ‘Today media has become an independent and powerful network in every country and Afghanistan also has a significant position. If media is mobilized around a series of big goals across countries, I am sure can be useful in the section of resolving the crisis.’
Afghanistan Media Relations With Regional Countries
Media can effectively impact the relations between countries, and stands to play a vital role in the building of Pak-Afghan relations. According to Waheeda Faizy, Journalists protection Committee Gender In-charge – in 2014 and 2015, an Official program through the Equal Access Office took place.
This was to improve the relationship between Afghan and Pakistani journalists. However, this program did not work, due to lack of a proper network. There was no resulting implementation.
On the other hand, media challenges have increased due to political opposition and border disputes between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although, on the contrary, the role of media plays an important role in overcoming social barriers in post-conflict situations.
In 2014, similar to the ‘Journalists Without Borders’, Afghanistan and Pakistan Joint Journalists network was also created. The purpose of the network was to hold a meeting between the journalists of the respective countries after six months. However, these meetings did not take action.
Role of Media in Pak-Afghan Relations
Mujeeb Khilwatgar, the institutional Head of Afghanistan ‘Free Media’ in an interview emphasized the role of media in a post-conflict scenario.
He reiterated that policies of the National Unity Government and the subsequent government towards Pakistan; and the spread of the Corona Virus caused a break in the work of these agencies. Especially, the joint network of Afghan and Pakistani Journalists and its greatest impact is Covid-19 and Pak-Afghan Relations.
Reportedly, Mr Khalwatgar mentioned a joint session between Afghan and Pakistani Journalists in Islamabad. However, this anticipated event has nothing finalized. The other session among Afghan Journalists along with the participation of 8 Pakistani journalists from the tribal areas of KPK, Peshawar, Sindh, Punjab and Kashmir on behalf of Pakistan through Navin-Jawanan Afghanistan took place in the year 2016 in Kabul. In this session, Journalists of both countries emphasized; peace and stability, strengthening and improving, political relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, the war in Afghanistan does not end until the two countries do not enhance their political relations. The Afghan People trust Pakistan, creating any type of joint media platform will efficiently impact the relations of the two countries. This is because the media works for people.
There are certain suggestions that are based on defined objectives, specifically enhancing relations between journalists of both countries. For that purpose creating a network under the name of Journalists of Afghanistan and Pakistan shall be enhanced. This network shall have: internet website, television, radio or press release. Further, its members will commit to the pre-defined interests and values. The network shall propose working solutions which aim at the section of improving the relations between two countries effectively.