Female journalists facing discrimination


KABUL (SW) – Coinciding with the World Press Freedom Day, a number of female journalists say that since nearly two years ago, they have been facing gender discrimination and discriminatory treatment in the field of access to information.

Yasmin, a reporter for one of the private television stations in Kabul, told Salam Watandar that government officials do not cooperate with women when collecting information. She added: “When we go to some conferences, they don’t let us in because they say there are men there. The information that we want from the authorities, they are not willing to give us the information. Whereas if a male colleague goes for the same information, they will answer him quickly.”

These female journalists still say that it has happened many times that the officials of the Islamic Emirate did not allow them to cover the news meetings and the government sources were not willing to answer.

Arzoo, another reporter at one of the private radio stations in Kabul, said: “It has happened to me many times that I have requested information from sources, they have repeatedly emphasized that they are not willing to interview with the female reporters. Many conferences have been held where we were not allowed.”

Female journalists in provinces are also facing these problems.

Nastern Panahi, a reporter in one of Herat’s news agencies, referring to the Islamic Emirate authorities’ dealings while gathering information, said that when she went to one of Herat’s hospitals to prepare a report, she had to go to the office from morning to night to get answers for some basic questions as the authorities were not willing to answer her because she is a woman. “One of our big problems is not having access to information because there is gender discrimination in this field. Even if we get information, it is not something that we need. It means that we cannot obtain the information with full details and first hand.”

Officials at the independent media support organization (NAI) say that after the political developments in the country, 95 percent of female journalists have become unemployed due to the economic problems of the media and the imposition of restrictions. Zarif Karimi, the official of NAI, told Salam Watandar that there are currently no female journalists working in 19 provinces. He added: “Before the political developments, there were 2,138 female journalists, and now, about 95% of these journalists are unemployed. In 19 provinces, including the eastern, northern and southern provinces, there are no female journalists at all, and in other provinces they are only a handful.”