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Promoting Democracy by Strengthening the Media - Deutsche Welle

Promoting Democracy by Strengthening the Media - Deutsche Welle

Thomas

Thomas Rehermann

MEDIA AID OPENS A WINDOW TO THE WORLD A contribution to the democratization of Afghanistan As a partner of the state broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), Germany’s foreign broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW), is making an important contribution to the pro- cess of democratization in Afghanistan. Be- cause free, independent and reliable media are essential to democracy. They provide people throughout the country with information and thus contribute to active opinion-forming. Kabul, August 2006. The suspense and anticipation are etched on the faces of those present as the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and his Afghan counterpart, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, press the red button in the TV studio control room of the state broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan. It’s the launching signal for the first broadcast of RTA’s new, international news program. Produced exclusively in Afghanistan, this is the first international news program by Afghans for Afghans. In this long-isolated country, it opens a window to the world for many people. The program is broadcast nationwide in the country’s two official languages, Dari and Pashto. GERDA MEUER This premiere is the culmination of years of effort by trainers, journalists and technicians: the new program replaces the international news for Afghanistan, produced for several years in Berlin and broadcast to Afghanistan by Germany’s overseas TV broadcaster, DW-TV. RTA officials, DW media experts and the German Foreign Ministry, which financed the project, are all agreed: This project is a successful example of how to help people to help themselves. It avoided a long-term dependence on German media development aid. Instead, our Afghan colleagues were put in a position from which they could now turn their own focus to international news and report it accordingly. 5

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