Radio Azadi has become the most popular media outlet in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government.
A local version of Radio Free Europe, Radio Azadi's mission is to bring listeners objective news reporting and open discussion, an important change for citizens unaccustomed to freedom of the press.
Since its introduction, the station has drawn tens of thousands of letters from ordinary Afghan citizens. The letters range from complaints of corruption to a high school student's poetry to tips for the president. Many are hand-drawn scrolls in the highly ornate Afghan style.
While some listeners tune-in just for the news and entertainment programs, it has also become a place where people can engage in a free and open discussion of ideas about their government, their country or the war.
An exhibit about the letters is on display at the Library of Congress through May.
"People live in remote places, the government is clearly not formed in such a way that people can get instant feedback from their representatives, so this radio station is really one of the few avenues to have their voices heard." - Ari Golberg, Radio Free Europe
"A committee consisting of honest people who sympathize with Afghanistan should be appointed in order to monitor the money donated by the international community to Afghanistan. The money should be spent based on certain identifiable priorities. We have marvelous houses and castles -- used only as government offices. At the same time, there are people who are starving. This will deepen the gap between the people and the government." - Letter from Afghanistan
1. Where is Afghanistan?
2. Why is the U.S. fighting there?
3. What is freedom of the press? What are its practical implications?
4. How might freedom of the press change a country that has not had it before?
1. What did you find interesting about the information in this video?
2. Why would having a place to talk openly about your opinions be of so much value to people in a war-torn country? How does Radio Azadi accommodate them?
3. Does this video speak to the importance of objective journalism? Why or why not?
4. What are some of your favorite sources of news or communication? Why do you like them? How do you engage with them? Do you ever write in?
5. Read some of the letters featured in the exhibit here.
What do they say about Afghanistan?