(PRESS RELEASE) Introducing Sahar Speaks: A new programme for Afghan female journalists

The inaugural round of Sahar Speaks takes off in March 2016, when a selected group of 10 Afghan female journalists will receive training in Kabul. This will be followed by international mentorships and their work published in The Huffington Post, the world’s largest English-language news site.

Sahar Speaks is unique: it is the first programme of its kind to produce high-quality journalism by Afghanistan-based, local female correspondents in a global media outlet.

The project was created in response to the appalling lack of Afghan women reporters at the foreign media in Kabul. Not a single Afghan woman works at any of the foreign news outlets, in any capacity. This has been a systemic failure by the international press. In Afghanistan, where the genders are largely segregated, most Afghan women cannot talk to most men. Not hiring Afghan women has created a gaping hole in the country’s foreign coverage.

Afghanistan has 9,000 local journalists, of whom 2,000 are women. There is no shortage when it comes to their abilities. We were overwhelmed by the number of applications we received.

“How can the world see the true Afghan story, if there are no Afghan female writers, photographers, camera operators or TV producers at foreign news outlets?” Amie Ferris-Rotman, Sahar Speaks founder.

Amie Ferris-Rotman created Sahar Speaks at Stanford University, where she was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow in 2014. Sahar Speaks is partnered with the British And Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) and has received seed funding from the UK’s Kestrelman Trust. We aim to change the paradigm that has contributed to the marginalisation of women’s voices in Afghanistan, using the Sahar Speaks model in other parts of the country as well as the region. 

“Female journalists can shed light on dark corners where men can’t.” Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai in an interview with Sahar Speaks.

To get in touch, and to arrange interviews:

saharspeaks@gmail.com and on Twitter: @Sahar_Speaks