Afghan Youth Debates: Media for a Sceptical Electorate


The latest in a series of student debates taking place around Afghanistan focused on the role media can play in persuading voters to take part in next April’s presidential and provincial elections. 

IWPR’s Afghanistan team hosted the November 28 event, at which most of the audience was made up of students from Paktia University in the east of the country. It was the second meeting held in Paktia, part of a wider programme of discussions intended to stimulate youth participation in the elections.

One of the panellists, Lemar Niazai, a journalist and a member of the Paktia Civil Society group, urged media outlets to support the Afghanistan Independent Election Commission (AIEC) by encouraging people to vote and reporting accurately on the outcome. He reminded everyone that 30 years of conflict had left people disengaged from the political system.

A member of the audience, engineering student Mohammad Anwar Morad, said many young people remained deeply sceptical despite promises of fair elections.

The head of the Paktia Press Club, Ehsanullah Mahjor, said he believed the media had done a good job of covering past elections, and underlined the importance of allowing them to work unhindered.

The AIEC’s provincial spokesman Sher Alam Faizi said he hoped to continue working closely with Paktia’s media sector.

Abdul Raqib Nuri is a student at Paktia University in Gardez.

This report was produced as part of Open Minds: Speaking Up, Reaching Out – Promoting University and Youth Participation in Afghan Elections, an IWPR initiative funded by the US embassy in Kabul.

Also in this issue