Promoting Democracy by Strengthening the Media - Deutsche Welle
Combined concentration in the editing suite excess of unqualified personnel at RTA, left over from the Communist era. In a democracy, which it’s hoped Afghanistan will become, public broadcasters act as guarantors of independent reporting and supply basic media services to the population. Despite all difficulties, the state-controlled Afghan broadcaster RTA is predestined to assume this role. Therefore, the European Commission, as part of its measures to promote the democratization of Afghanistan, has commissioned a consortium of international broadcasters, made up of the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Canal France Internationale, to analyze the need for reform at RTA and to draw up a plan for transforming it into a broadcaster governed by public law. This reform will take several years to implement and is also certain to meet resistance from many of those involved. Because instead of state and party control and direction, the ultimate aim of the reform is responsible and independent behavior by employees. These changes raise fears and concerns – both among the directly affected and among the politicians responsible. But already, the consortium and those in charge at RTA have reached a number of milestones. Parliament has already been presented with new media legislation for Afghanistan and a new broadcasting law for RTA. Furthermore, RTA is no longer under the direct authority of the information minister. The consortium has drawn up journalism guidelines for RTA and made proposals for the restructuring of the TV and radio departments. The training of existing employees is an essential aspect of this restructuring process. Because it is they who will ultimately have to bear responsibility when the foreign experts are withdrawn. The consortium has drawn up a training plan expressly for this purpose as well as proposals for further development of staff and a reduction of the excessive staff numbers.
SOHAILA WEDAA KHAMOSH RTA EDITOR The Afghan journalist, Daud Dadras, once said: “When I saw RTA’s world news program for the first time, I could not believe that it was produced by young journalists from the international newsroom. The program was so professional.” In my experience, a large part of the Afghan population shares the same opinion as Daud Dadras. When our first program was broadcast, many people were astonished at what we had achieved in such a short space of time. This recognition encouraged us and spurred us on to put even more effort and precision into subsequent pro- grams, despite all the difficulties. (top) Christian Struwe (left) in a training situation (bottom) The RTA team in front of a new satellite dish 21