Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA)

Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) is the national state broadcaster in Afghanistan, which runs a radio and a television station.

Media assets

Television: National Television Afghanistan

Radio: Radio Afghanistan

State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)

Ownership and governance

RTA is a government-owned broadcaster whose main governing body, the RTA Commission, consists of members appointed by the High Media Council, according to data from the Media and Journalism Research Center (MJRC). The council’s representatives come from the government, parliament, the judiciary, civil society and journalism. The government exerts control on RTA through the commission, according to MJRC research. RTA is accountable to the Ministry of Information and Culture.

Source of funding and budget

According to the latest data available, RTA had a budget of AFN 404m (US$ 5.9m) in the fiscal year ending in 2017. The broadcaster also generated some AFN 220m (US$ 3.2m) from ad sales in the same year; however, this funding is completely controlled by the Ministry of Finance.

 Following the fall of the country to the Taliban regime in August 2021, RTA has been faced with serious financial problems as the government, which funds the station, is struggling with budget deficits, according to local journalists.

Editorial independence

Although the government has constantly tried to meddle with the editorial affairs of the RTA, the broadcaster has managed in recent years to maintain as much as possible its editorial independence. Especially the appointment of Ismail Miakhail as the Director General of RTA brought new guarantees of the station’s independence given Miakhail’s long experience with the BBC. Nevertheless, after the fall of the country to the Taliban, the broadcaster has totally lost its independence. Evidence of Taliban fighters beating and threatening the station’s journalists abounds. At the same time, since they returned to power, the Taliban have slashed the number of female journalists working with the station, imposing a strict control over the broadcaster’s programming, according to local journalists.

The media law puts forward a series of provisions that are aimed to guarantee the editorial independence of RTA, yet they are not respected anymore.

There is no independent oversight mechanism to validate the independence of RTA.

September 2023