With Fewer ads Role of the local Afghan Media is Phenomenal to Shrink the Virus

By Elham Ullah Babur

June 12, 2020

Uranus TV and Radio station is one that located in the heart of the city of Kunduz Afghanistan, amid naval Coronavirus now fells shortage in employees and broadcast, too, within numerous media outlets even those in the capital Kabul – getting less financial support either from clients and through daily advertisements as it were before the Covid-19.

Hedayatullah Zayarmal, editor-in-chief at Uranus TV and radio station sat them down with his colleagues and two out of five of them have been assigned to cover the Covid-19 story in the ground. Recently, Afghanistan has been hit-harder by the virus as of  34,421 cases. The first case of Covid-19 in the country has been confirmed on Feb.24, 2020 in the city of Herat in the West.

“Lack of funds is a serious issue. However, I should focus on exclusive radio talk shows which navigate the public pertaining to the viruses,” Said Hedayatullah Zayarmal, at Uranus TV and Radio studio.” At the same time, it should indulge over coverage of Covide-19, local media have played a significant role in public awareness, rather than toll would increasingly rise up.”

Though, to prevent the spread of the virus into a war-ravaged country which is already vulnerable sort of ordeals, one is increased insecurity in remote areas and has less access to be kicked off knowledge sessions and launch public awareness campaign of the virus – the importance of public awareness campaign is vital in particular in rural areas with limited access to service-resources such as the internet – lack of awareness among localities has triggering to upgrade the virus drastically.

Nonetheless, the local Afghan government draws attention and allocated additional budget to elevate knowledge of the public specifically about the virus, and also it supports painstaking media outlets across the country.

In the city of Kunduz, provincial officials are coming into close contact to journalists and civil society activists and set up a regular gathering to support them and together to cut down the spread of the virus into remote locations.” the provincial governor office will do what it has on hands to prevent the spread of the virus throughout the province.” Said Esmatullah Muradi, governor spokesman in Kunduz province.

 

Still, lower capacity and the issue of professionalism of the local Afghan media organizations are questionable, most reducing its regular programming and cutting down the number of employees the fear of infection by the virus as many media workers don’t have access to personal protective equipment [PPE] meanwhile, as most are unaffordable to pay them off.

Massoud Rahmani, a primary resident of the city of Kunduz currently lives overseas said that with fewer ads and capacities the role of media in terms of public informing is remarkable but isn’t enough at all.

”as being the level of literacy rate in remote areas lower than that much be expected, therefore, support to media could be upgraded if this will happen, the virus will shrink,” he recalls.

Rahmani has spoken with his neighbor in the village ironically who doesn’t know how to use face masks properly. “people should be educated in mainstream media platforms, meanwhile, I’ve doubts over their capacity as I have seen nothing new mere copy and paste in programming.”

The Pasbanan Meda Group (PMG) in the city of  Kabul with its available resources is one of the hubs to educate reporters due to related topics in coverage of Covid-19, as the PMG itself admires the role of local media with fewer resources.

”Overall, it’s a challenging time specifically for the Afghan media,” said Shersha Nawabi, the founder of PMG in Kabul. “ we struggle with all existing resources to keep efforts of aware  the public,”