Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

The Role of Media in Independence of Afghanistan

Before going to the main parts of discussion, we need know the term independence is relatively complex and intertwined with various concepts such as politics, economy and culture. Because of this complication there has been various interpretations and understanding in Afghanistan. However, there is a central and common element in all the combinations otherwise the world will become free from its real content and meaning. The central element is a social and political agreement which originates from national will of states and within the framework of that agreement, national sovereignty exercise over geographical boundaries, legitimate defense against foreign aggression, as well as formulation of regular international relations on basis of national interests with other states will become possible.
Meanwhile, we should not forget that meaning of independence has principally changed so far as that no country is fully independent, specially the poor and weak countries. Afghanistan has gone through many ups and downs after it gained its independence on March 3, 1919; from the occupation of Afghanistan by the Russian Red Army to the arrival of international troops in 2001 for fighting against terrorism and establishment of peace and security after the fall of the Taliban Regime. Being in center of world attention in the first decade after fall of Taliban, it not only attracted a lot of international grants but unprecedentedly expanded its relations with international countries.
Now, there is a general question among the citizens; where are we after the independence? In response to this question, may analysts believe that naturally we have not made fundamental differences from the point where we gained independence as both economically and politically we have many problems. On the other hand, we have not been able to create a strong and inclusive national government dominating over all parts of the country. Moreover, we are also stuck in many traditional ideas and understanding; many of the people contend with anything that resemble a mark of alien and unfortunately, do not distinguish between alienation and today’s requirements; we should understand that we are in an age that has become known as the era of globalization.
In this era, the national sovereignty globally decreased as a result of states interdependencies though the levels of dependencies are not equal. Accordingly, the boundaries of national governments are disrupted by the communications technology. Therefore, the first important thing is ability of having interaction and utilization from capacities and experiences of the international community. We should not be deceived by some of the concepts that are now depleted from content and nature. In fact, the content of these concepts should be reconsidered, in the light of current changes.
Meanwhile, we should understand that the real factor of independence in Afghanistan was national and global awareness. At national level, the idea of freedom and independence, before King Amanullah Khan, was raised and reflected by Siraj al-Akhbar in the country. Consequently, the major achievement of this written media was the gain of independence from the British Indian Government. When Amanullah Khan took the power, the public opinion was ready for the topic of independence, and so he put it at the top of his national agenda. Therefore, we can conclude that the independence of Afghanistan was largely the product of media freedom.
At international level, after World War I and after weakening of the colonialist countries, various waves of liberation ideology swept across the Asian continent. In most Asian countries, including the Ottoman Empire, the movement for liberation and constitutionalism had begun to change autocratic systems to constitutional systems. During this period, different movements of independence were growing and expanding in the colonized countries.  As a result of these waves of liberation, many colonies achieved political rights of independence.
The evidence for this fact was his own words at the time of his coronation. When Amanullah put on the royal throne, he declared: “I accept the crown if you cooperate with my thoughts. The government of Afghanistan must be completely independent both from interior and external elements.” It is obvious that after this stage a lot changes has occurred especially it was a good time for freedom of expression.  All thinkers and writers supported the government, and on the other hand, no one witnessed any media censorship or punishment of journalists.
If we wish to name the achievement of this period, the promotion of press freedom and press law was certainly among the most important ones. The media regulation at this time stipulates the conditions for publishing free journals and press offenses also well-defined. Other notable achievements in this period are serious consideration of women’s fundamental rights and freedoms. In this regard, we can talk about the establishment of schools for girls and the launch of a dedicated newspaper for women, entitled “Ershad al-Nuswan” under editor-in-chief of Mr. Tarzi’s wife.
The running of newspapers was very important in the traditional society of that time. In fact, the presence of “Ershad al-Nuswan”, along with other publications, was a manifestation of modernism and the authority of the modernist forces. It is clear that the multiplicity of publications with relative freedoms of expression, significantly contributed to the cultivation of awareness and libertarian generation. Even, in the years after fall of the Amani government, a number of these bright minded youths risked their lives to preserve and restore democracy. Many historians believe that the role of press in that period was very prominent in promoting liberty, nationalist, progress and modernist ideas, but media freedom were not supported by all social and political groups.