Civil society and local media join to fight corruption in Afghanistan’s northeast

8 Oct 2017

Civil society and local media join to fight corruption in Afghanistan’s northeast

PUL-E KHUMRI - Civil society in Afghanistan’s northeast is forming stronger partnerships with local media to generate public discussion and advocacy around issues of crucial importance to local communities.

In 2017, the Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri field offices of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) organized a series of public events, along with radio and TV programming, to raise awareness about good governance and combatting corruption. According to Shir Mohammad Jahesh, the director of Tanweer, a local media company in Baghlan, the programmes encouraged residents to speak out.

“The TV and radio campaign on combatting corruption, improving governance and participatory development at the subnational level was welcomed by provincial residents,” said Jahesh. “I recall one of our TV viewers called me and said that after watching the anti-corruption roundtable he got to know how and where to complain formally against corrupt officials.”

During the media campaigns, Mr Jahesh went on to say, Tanweer received phone calls from the audience asking for the continuation of the series. “We observed some engagement and discussions on our social media too,” he said, stressing that every citizen has a duty to fight corruption, which he characterized as the root cause of insecurity in Afghanistan.

Ahmad Javid, a youth activist who participated in the Pul-e Khumri outreach initiative, says that as a result of the campaigns, he began speaking up against corruption publicly.

“I lodged complaints to the relevant authorities against dishonest officials in my district,” he said. “We are encouraged to take action because we are witnessing the prosecution of public officials and figures on corruption charges more frequently than in the past.”

UNAMA has been supporting civil society organizations across Afghanistan to work with local radio and television, through a combination of technical assistance and outreach events, to engage communities and raise awareness about different issues that have impact on the lives of Afghans.

This year, UNAMA has supported several media campaigns in Baghlan and Kunduz around peace and anti-corruption, in partnership with local civil society groups and local media outlets.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.