Mohammad Nader weeps as his mother describes the night he was taken from their home. Image by Kathleen Flynn, Afghanistan, 2010. Add this image to a lesson

The January/February issue cover story, "Crossfire in Kandahar," discusses the particular obstacles that journalists face when reporting in Afghanistan, even as the industry is infused with young energy inside the country and cash from outside it.

Vanessa M. Gezari writes: The rapid growth of the media—and expanded funding from some quarters—have not made reporting in Afghanistan any easier. In fact, journalism has become more difficult as security has deteriorated. Political alliances have grown murkier under the weak Karzai government, deepening war has muddled the international community's intentions, and militant and organized crime networks have grown fat on foreign aid. Afghan journalists are relatively new to their work, and they have been criticized for lacking professionalism. But Afghan journalists describe the world they see: a complex place, littered with overlapping, conflicting accounts. There are no reliable sources here.

In a new CJR podcast, Gezari speaks with assistant editor Lauren Kirchner about her experiences reporting in Afghanistan since 2002 and training new journalists there. She also suggests the ways that Western media organizations can, in time, help contribute to a better and freer media environment in Afghanistan.

Listen to the podcast.


Afghan reporters know things about their country that western reporters miss. Can they convey the complexity of Afghan society, not just across language barriers, but across cultures?


August 6, 2014 /
Nathalie Applewhite, Steve Sapienza
Learn what it takes to work abroad as a journalist in the digital age—how to prepare, report safely, and develop the skills that will serve you best.
August 11, 2013 / The New York Times
Vanessa M. Gezari
Vanessa Gezari, author of a new book on the Afghanistan murder of social scientist Paula Loyd, says the US military still stumbles through an Afghan culture it barely understands.