Afghan women break taboos with TV channel launch

19 May 2017

A channel dedicated to women launches in Afghanistan and staff say they're met with disapproval from friends and family for taking the job, in an industry dominated by men. Ryan Brooks fromr reuters reports.

Afghan women carving out a place on the airwaves. This weekend (May 20-21), Zan TV will kick off its first broadcasts -a channel meant to bridge the gap in the country's media, which like many aspects of Afghan life is dominated by men.

TV PRESENTER FOR ZAN TV , SHAMELA RASOOLI: "Since I began working in media, I have received many threats. Even my family members oppose my job and my relatives, my uncles and cousins, say it is not right for a girl to work at a TV station, but I ignore them so that I can achieve my goals."

Zan TV or 'Women's TV is run on a shoestring.

It relies on a team of more than 50 young women, many of them students.

The station's founder says he got the idea for the channel while sifting through job applications for another station and saw several women were applying for an anchor job despite the cultural taboo.

PRESENTER , ZAN TV , KRISHMA NAZ: "Sometimes, you know, you need to actually make the opportunity for the women that they should come and they should work and they should prove themselves."

There's no guarantee the hard work will pay off - they're up against 40 stations in cutthroat competition for viewers.

But in some ways Zan TV's debut is at least a milestone for Afghanistan.

Only 16 years ago when the Taliban was overthrown, women were forced to wear head-to-toe burkas if they were allowed to leave the house at all and girls were banned from school.