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11 July 2014
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BBC World Service Trust to assist Afghanistan media reconstruction activities

The BBC World Service Trust starts work today in Kabul in strengthening the media sector in Afghanistan (Friday 8 February).

The UK Government’s Department for International Development has given a £1 million grant to support immediate actions in the next three months. These will focus on five areas:

· Providing equipment to Radio/TV Afghanistan for two radio studios and to stabilise radio production
· Training more than 150 journalists in Kabul and the regions
· Working in partnership with the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) to assess future needs and the foundations for a regulatory framework for the media
· Production of radio programmes on the BBC World Service in Pashto and Persian on the ‘Loya Jirga’ - the traditional council which will define the future constitution of Afghanistan
· Open a Media Resource Centre for Afghan journalists

Stephen King, Director of the World Service Trust said: "A strong, vibrant and independent media is vital for rebuilding the social fabric of Afghanistan. The BBC is looking forward to working in partnership with Afghans to offering its expertise, experience and technical know-how to lay one of the key foundation stones for a stable future for the country."

Activities will focus on:
· Opening a Media Resource Centre for Afghan journalists in Kabul, to provide information, training and communications facilities. The centre will also contribute towards co-ordination of international media efforts in Afghanistan.

· A five person training team aiming to provide basic journalism courses to as many as 150 journalists in Afghanistan over a five week period from 8 February. The team is led by William Reeve, previously the BBC World Service Correspondent in Kabul, who survived the US bombing of the Al-Jazeera BBC office in Kabul, when next door being interviewed live on BBC World television. The team includes Meena Bakhtash from the Persian Service, Shir Aqa Karimi of the Pashto Service, former BBC News Editor Nick Nugent and Senior Trainer, Jackie Chambers.

· Equipment - which includes studio equipment will be supplied and installed by a technical team from BBC Technology Ltd

· A number of experts from the BBC and other organisations including the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and Article 19 will work closely with the AIA to assess priorities for the reconstruction of the media over the coming months. They will address topics such as broadcast policy, freedom of speech, gender and educational needs.

The World Service Trust

The BBC World Service Trust is an NGO established by the BBC World Service. It is a registered charity which channels funds from outside sources and uses communications for development in developing countries and countries in transition. It builds the capacity of local and national broadcasters and civil society organisations. It works closely with the BBC World Service to deliver educational, health and governance programmes and training.

Building on its previous work in the region, the Trust and the BBC’s Afghan Education Projects in Peshawar commenced a series of 15 minute 'lifeline' programmes in November 2001, targeting refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in Afghanistan. These programmes were broadcast twice daily in Pashto and Persian on the BBC's Pashto and Persian services and were also supported by DFID.

The Trust has now developed a series of proposals for a more extensive project addressing technical rehabilitation, regulatory frameworks, training of journalists and educational and other programming in Afghanistan and in the region which it hopes to deliver over a three to five year period.

Background on January 2002 needs assessment work in Afghanistan

As the first stage of planning for the current project, a BBC team took part in a needs assessment mission in Afghanistan under the auspices of the UN’s Department of Public Information in early January 2002.

The BBC team included a range of expertise from BBC Technology, BBC Public Policy (for regulatory frameworks), the World Service Pashto and Persian services, the Afghan Education Projects and the Trust.

They met with Hamid Kharzai and leading ministers in the interim government, Afghan broadcasters, journalists and UN agencies. The mission's findings were incorporated into the ‘Preliminary needs assessment for recovery and reconstruction in Afghanistan’ which was presented by the World Bank, UNDP and the Asian Development Bank to the recent donor’s conference in Tokyo.



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