Afghan Newspaper Hunts Corruption, but First It Has to Pay the Rent

Under the Taliban, there was only the regime’s state radio and newspaper. Today, there are more than 300 radio and 200 television channels, more than 70 newspapers, and hundreds of magazines across Afghanistan.

The numbers, however, often overshadow the draining work and risks these news organizations take.

Newspapers in particular, most of which have been subsidized by donor funding over the past 15 years, face not just financial worries, but also the nagging question of whether they can really bring about change in a country where power often lies less in the constitutional order and more at the hands of strongmen and their patronage.

Coping with the political pressures, and the financial challenges, is a daily struggle.

For publishers like Mr. Daryabi, newspaper work means living a life of debt, and often making life awkward for loved ones. As his paper has published reports critical of President Ashraf Ghani’s government, Mr. Daryabi’s relationship with his father, a Ghani supporter, has become strained. His father does not understand why his son keeps embarrassing him in front of his friends.

“When I am sometimes thinking about leaving it all, it’s not about myself — it’s about my twins, and their future,” said Mr. Daryabi, the father of twin boys.

Etilaat e Roz operates out of a third-floor apartment in western Kabul, where a team of 10 starts late in the morning and works late into the night. The operation is so small that for major investigations Mr. Daryabi and his chief editor become reporters.


Distributors, mostly students, getting ready to deliver the day’s paper around the city.

Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

The paper has several distributors, on bicycle, who deliver the 3,000 copies at dawn five days a week. It relies heavily on its colorful online presence, with 300,000 subscribers to its Facebook page

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