Ministry Strategy

Ministry of Information and Culture

Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Media, Culture and Youth Strategy

 

GLOSSARY
Bollywood          Is the name given to the Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India
Buddha               Originator of the Buddhist religion
Buzkashi     National and Traditional sport playing by horses
Kuchi      Nomads
Minaret of Jam   Historical Minaret in Ghor Province
Qala       Traditional houses in which families of the same father living 
Sharia                 Islamic Regulation
Tepe Sardar        Sardar Historical Hill

 



I    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Reviving a sense of historical and cultural continuity in Afghanistan as well as that of national unity is vital to ensure that the reconstruction process progresses in a climate of tolerance, national integrity and stability. The national heritage can become a rallying point for Afghans, enabling them to rebuild ties and dialogue and redesign a common identity and future together.

Culture, media and youth can contribute to this endeavor in many ways. Afghanistan’s recent history provides a wide range of examples of how a lack of public investment, lawlessness and repression within this Sector have: (i) fuelled prejudice and intolerance; (ii) led to a notable impoverishment of cultural capital; (iii) spoiled many of Afghanistan’s major cultural assets; and (iv) strengthened the network in the illicit traffic of antiquities, as there is clear evidence that networks dealing with drugs and illicit traffic of the country’s cultural property are closely intertwined.

Afghanistan is a diverse multi-ethnic and multi lingual society. The land of approximately 30 million includes a diverse people: Pashtuns, Tajiks, Nuristanis, Hazaras, Aimaqs, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Kirghiz, Baluchis and other smaller groups make up one nation. A celebration of this diversity is a necessary part of a new social capital, in which interpretations of Afghan culture are located. Maintaining unity while celebrating diversity requires strategies to preserve cultural heritage, stimulate cultural creativity and promote an independent and pluralistic media. A great deal can be achieved for creating collective national and community bonds through promoting pride and social capital in cultural heritage. Restoring a sense of joy and humanity to these public places should not be underestimated. By and large, for very little public resource commitment, and with encouragement of private sponsorship, resource poor countries have made enormous strides in using culture as part of “nation-building”. In a country plagued by a systematic destruction of history, rehabilitation of cultural institutions and artifacts can also help build social capital as people become caretakers of their heritage.

Over the past two decades Afghanistan’s tangible cultural heritage was vandalized, blasted, looted, pillaged, destroyed or allowed to deteriorate and creative expression in the arts, music and literature languished. After many years of repression and persecution, art, poetry, music, theater and dance are gradually reemerging. Several international organizations are active in protecting and promoting the conservation and revitalization of both intangible and tangible cultural heritage, such as, UNESCO, its World Heritage Center, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage (SPACH), Delegation Archeologique Francaise en Afghanistan (DAFA), Centre Cultural Francais de Kaboul, Turquoise Mountain Foundation (TMF), Foundation for Culture and Civil Society (FCCS), Goethe Institute and others. Today we see a revival of customs and traditions of the diverse people, including a revival of the art of carpet weaving, of traditional pottery, of poetry, and the traditional sport, Buzkashi.

The media should play a prime role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. When they came to power in 1996, the Taliban banned television and closed all but one radio station. Only a few propaganda newspapers and a radio broadcasted message of intolerance. Today, the media is being revived with national and international assistance. At the moment, Afghanistan has dozens of newspapers and magazines, a state-owned Radio–Television-Afghanistan (RTA), independent TV stations (Tolo, Ariana, AINA, Tamadon, Norin, Afghan, Shamshad, Lemar and so on), and independent local radio stations. Many TV channels (up to more than 400) are broadcast into the country from a number of international satellites and available to the few houses (no estimations are available) equipped with a proper dish and with a reliable source of power. Some international radio channels broadcast programs in Afghan national languages (Pashto and Dari) in the Afghanistan territory via short-waves and medium-waves (AM) and partly via FM transmitters. With a large percentage of the population illiterate, broadcasting media can serve as a popular conduit of values, such as the right to education, protection from illness, information needed to help people participation in decision makings in the community and in the country, etc. The public needs proper information about the peace process and this requires a professional media that is editorially independent of influences from various interested factions and yet dedicated to the public interest rather than commercial purpose.

The final declaration of the International Seminar on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media in Afghanistan organized by UNESCO on September 2002 in Kabul, recognized «freedom of expression as a fundamental human right and an essential part of the free, modern nation Afghanistan aspires to build on the principles of Islam, democracy and human rights», and stressed that «creating and maintaining free media is the concern of all people in society, from all ethnic groups, all tribes, all professions, men and women.». The Declaration also recommended transforming Radio-Television Afghanistan into a public service broadcasting system, in recognition of the significant role the media will play in the debate over national reconstruction and called the international community continuing to provide financial as well as technical assistance to promote the development of independent pluralistic media.

The Ministry of Information and Culture issued on behalf of the Afghan Government a Policy Direction on Reconstruction and Development of Media in Afghanistan, stating: “The media must become an essential instrument in making the government transparent and accountable and in generating national debate on the crucial decisions which we will have to make in the rebuilding of the country…” Last but not least the Constitution approved in early January 2004 fully endorsed the principle of freedom of speech.

“Pluralistic media development and culture are crosscutting tools necessary for the achievement of most Millennium Development Goals, from education to poverty eradication, from health to environment sustainability and gender equality. Culture and the media are the tools for empowering an informed civil society.

II     INTRODUCTION
The sector covers the functions of the Ministry of Information and Culture. There are 4 sub-sectors, Media, Culture, Youth Affairs and Tourism.

Vision & Mission
In the cultural area,  the vision is to have a  comprehensive and accessible record, supported by relevant artifacts that documents its history and culture and to be able to preserve and protect the cultural heritage so that it can be handed on to new generations to foster pride in the nation’s achievements and cultural creativity.

In media, the vision is for media that are independent, pluralistic and accessible to Afghan men and women throughout the country thereby promoting an open and democratic society.

In youth the vision is for young people to be confident that they have a stable and prosperous future in Afghanistan.
Culture
Afghanistan Compact Benchmark:
A comprehensive inventory of Afghan cultural treasures will be compiled by end-2007. Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to stop the illegal removal of cultural material and to restore damaged monuments and artifacts by end-2010.

To achieve the Afghanistan Compact in the field of Culture, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) has been focusing on the activities of its Departments (Historical Monuments, Institute of Archaeology, National Archives and Department of Museums) on continued registration of monuments, sites and movable cultural heritage, complemented by current training initiatives, documentation and research activities of donors and implementing agencies around the country.

In addition, the MoIC will enhance protection of monuments and historic cities/landscapes endangered by demolition and modern construction through their registration and conservation with the assistance of the donor community. MoIC also focuses special attention on Afghanistan’s most important monuments, buildings and historical areas of cities, towns and villages for restoration and conservation activities in provinces throughout the country. Public awareness of these issues should be treated as a key partner in respect to this goal and the media, especially public service broadcasting institutions, will contribute to create a public sense of responsibility towards the protection of cultural assets.
Information and Media
Communication and Information programme presents two provisional biennial sectoral priorities - fostering free, independent and pluralistic communication and universal access to information; and promoting innovative applications of ICTs for sustainable development - within an overarching objective, ‘Building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.’

The concept of knowledge societies is that of societies based on the four key principles of freedom of expression, universal access to information and knowledge, respect for cultural and linguistic diversity, and quality education for all, since religions, beliefs, traditions and customs are the source of moral strength and inspiration for the Afghan people.
Tourism
In countries like Afghanistan, with a low industrial base, but with extraordinary natural beauties and cultural riches, tourism is a major vector for economic development. Tourism must be developed at a steady pace while paying due attention to the security and culture. Defining and implementing a reasonable, realistic and voluntarist policy for tourism is one of the main priorities of the MoIC.
Tourism is closely related to the environment. The MoIC will participate, along with other government agencies, NGO’s and civil society, in developing effective strategies for protecting and preserving the environmental assets of the country.
Anti-personnel mines and unexploded ordnance constitute a major challenge for the development of the tourism sector. Strategic public awareness and cooperation with local populations will help diminish real risks and psychological factors.
Tourism is also a powerful lever for the development of the rural economy, which in turn will help attracting more visitors.
Afghan traditional handicraft and rural industry needs to be protected and known internationally. Since Afghanistan aims to join WTO, all available means, especially those related to Intellectual Propertry, shall be used to help Afghan traditional knowledge, knowhow and handicrafts to be preserved from international plagiarism.
Support to the professional development of the tourism sector should come through cooperation of the MoIC, Ministry of Higherr Education and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Through collaboration between these national authorities, the sector will seek technical assistance to develop a standard Tourism and Hospitality Industry curriculum for Afghanistan’s universities and for vocational training programmes. Academic courses will be provided at BA, MA and Doctoral level, and the universities and technical and vocational institutes will also provide short-term, on-the-job and refresher training for tourism professionals.
Support to professional tourism industry associations: self-regulation is at the heart of a thriving tourism industry; Afghan hospitality industry professionals need to understand and advocate for responsible tourism development, and the MoIC sees its role as providing a supportive environment for independent industry associations. Develepment of tourism infrastructure is an important priority, but must not come at the expense of the heritage assets at the heart of the industry; historic cities, buildings, monuments, archaeological sites etc., etc..
The MoIC will work with legal and technical experts to develop standards and hotel grading systems for the hospitality industry.
The MoIC will develop a fair and transparent policy covering the issuance of tourism licences for hoteliers, tourguides and all stakeholders in the commerical sector and which includes consideration of intellectual property.
Youth
Youth is the major component of Afghanistan’s demography. Traditionally, Afghan society is based on “Adult prominence” but young talents have always been in a position to gain their due place in the social life. Therefore, Afghan Youth Empowerment is a very realistic and practical goal that will be achieved through the National Youth Program. This program will be imlpemented with the assistance of the inetrnational organizatrions.
Ofcourse, youth issue is a crosscutting issue for all governmental agencies and non govermental organizations. Cooperation will be sought with all concerned partners nationally and inetrnationally.
• Developing professional skills is one of the most effective means to reduce unemployment of the young generation. The ministry of culture will seize any occasion to encourage youth to go through training courses available and to encourage government agencies and non governmental organizations to provide such trainings.
• Afghan youth shall be closely associated in the local, provincial and national governance. For this aim to be met, youth associations and  youth voluntarism will be encouraged through specfic actions within the National Youth Program.
The Role of Culture, Media and Youth in Economic Growth
The Afghan National Development Strategy has identified the following benchmark for the Educational sub-group: ‘Media’: “Media are independent, pluralistic, accessible throughout the country and produce high-quality information relevant to the lives of Afghans.” While concurring with this general statement, the Ministry would like to propose that Media be considered a cross-cutting issue for consideration and benchmarks in all key areas of development. The reason for this has been clearly identified by the various groups and institutions working on the media, from the high level Policy Advisory Group to national journalists’ and media professionals’ organisations. Technological convergance as well as the targeted use of mass media and information technology by insurgent groups within Afghanistan and organisations and economic interests working to destablise the country from abroad mean that the Ministry and media professionals have an important role in providing technical support to policymakers in the key areas of security, governance, natural resource management, education, health, rural development, agricultural extension, social protection and private sector development.
Considering the media as a cross-cutting issue within the ANDS will put it on a par with major programme areas above and the existing CCIs gender, counter narcotics, regional cooperaion, institutional reform, capacity development and environmental protection. It will increase opportunities for donor funding for the sector in the light of the ongoing UN reform process; this will constrain opportunities for field-based funding for UN programmes as only those sectors considered within national development strategies and PRSPs will be eligible for core and centrally-generated EXB funding.
Efforts to address the complex linkages between culture and development have long pursued  a two-track approach; on the one hand promoting the inclusion of minorities and disadvantaged groups in social, political and cultural life, and on the other hand harnessing the potential of the creative sector for job creation, economic growth and poverty reduction efforts more broadly.  This two-track approach remains both appropriate and necessary.

At the same time, culture can clearly facilitate economic growth through job creation, tourism and the cultural industries (i.e. culture as an economic sector for production, consumption, and access). Cultural and Creative industries are understood in this context as those which comprise the formation, production, commercialization, and distribution of cultural goods and services resulting from human inspiration and imagination. They include, among others, printing and publishing, visual and performing arts, cultural tourism and related heritage industries, cinema, music, radio, television and online industries, arts, and design and crafts. Creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the global economy.

The promotion of viable creative industries in developing countries offers real possibilities to expand the economic and trade potential of local creativity, talent and expertise. The recently approved UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions recognized the importance of the sector in article 14 on Cooperation for Development, whereby Parties commit to support cooperation in order to foster the emergence of a dynamic cultural sector. In addition, creative industries can provide new approaches to improve dialogue between peoples, shared identities and social cohesion.

Furthermore, culture provides the social basis that allows for stimulating creativity, innovation, human progress and well-being. In this sense, culture can be seen as a driving force for human development, in respect of economic growth and also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

Actions linking culture and development should target disadvantaged groups that have fewer opportunities to participate in the cultural life of the societies they belong to due to economic, social or ethnic factors.  The fight against poverty from a cultural standpoint has to go hand-in-hand with other cooperation for development actions.

Together, these accumulated policies, strategies and international undertakings provide a powerful framework linking culture and development to key policy issues of our time, making cultural policy a key component of development strategies, including the respect for cultural diversity, the promotion of social inclusion of minority and disadvantaged groups, and the promotion of cultural and creative industries. Culture and development has a critical role in assisting efforts to generate inclusive growth as well as for human rights, democracy, and peace-building, all of which are essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. 

The tourism development will enhance the quality of life for the people of Afghanistan through promotion of livelihoods from sustainable use of natural and cultural resources including its tangible and intangible cultural heritage value. This will be achieved by establishing an inclusive provincial mechanism for the implementation of a broad based cultural policy, planning and strategy for sustainable tourism and development in Afghanistan. It will harness the potential for cultural industries and cultural tourism for job creation, economic growth and poverty reduction in the country. The key activities include creation of a Tourism Development Policy linking cultural and environmental conservation with existing and future plans, training and job creation in cultural and creative industries targeting disadvantaged groups, training and job creation for local people, mine-risk education and de-mining agricultural, commercial, populated areas and potential tourist sites for ongoing development of the World Heritage area. All activities are linked within a holistic development paradigm designed to address the Millennium Development Goals.

III    CONTEXT
Provide an overall assessment of the state of the sector
During the decades long war Afghan people suffered exile, lawlessness, poverty and foreign cultural invasion. Traditional social structures were weakened and even destroyed because of massive displacement of rural communities to urban centres and abroad. During these years, millenium social relationship of the Afghan society based on public legitimacy changed into a sysytem where legitimacy was replaced by the “Party superioritity” and armament supremacy. Millions of Afghans who were forced into exile to neighbouring countries ended up living in refugee camps, where they were unable to establish stable lives or livelihoods. These refugees, who changed their small villages to gigantic concentratated settlements with no urban livlihood. In these camps, Afghan refugees could no more enjoy their traditional life-style and were not allowed (or able) to adopt a new urban life-style. Others found asylum in more developed and wealthier countries where, although they were economically better off, they were subject to extreme cultural dissonance. Therefore, even if Afghan culture remained very lively and strong in its fundamentals, almost all began to expand rapidly in the 1970s under conditions of light censorship; it catered to literate urban elites, and the monopoly government broadcast media aimed at consolidating a national identity and providing top-down educational and extension programmes. The Fomer Soviet invasion led to an increase in censorship in the state media, and partisan information systems operated by the Resistance. The Taliban regime in the 1990s banned all mass media except for Radio Sharia and some newspapers which were the instruments for exclusive propaganda of the Taliban. Meanwhile, Afghans in exile created dozens of publications abroad with very limited edition and audience.
After the fall of the Taliban regime, it was inevitable that support to independent and pluralist media, especially that which catered to women and young people, was high on the agenda of international development organisations.
The re-emergence of Afghanistan on the international stage has coincided with rapid growth and development of information technology. Media convergence and development as well as geopolitics have meant that regional centres of innovation have emerged and returnees have been crucial in mediating between the wider technological context and actors in Afghanistan. Surveys of the media environment  in Afghanistan reveal that Afghan users have become sophisticated users of the media and there is a high level of trust in the media. Radio is currently the most accessible vehicle for information dissemination, although television is rapidly becoming more common among urban populations and different target audiences prefer different media and formats. 
In the culture sector, preserving the country’s tangible and intagible heritage is an important task since cultural diversity of the Afghan people is the foundation of national cohesion and therefore shall be promoted and developed. Afghanistan will soon be part of the international Convention on UNESCO Declaration of Cultural Diversity and Convention for the Safeguarding  of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Afghanistan’s international obligations will be a core issue for the MoIC.
Tourism in Afghanistan has the potential to become a significant source of foreign exchange, especially Islamic and cultural tourism. Acording to estimates, tourism can generate 4 to 7 billion US dollars annual revenue. The country has sites of astonishing natural beauty and historical significance and vibrant traditional cultures. However tourism must be carefully managed. At the end of the 1970s decade Afghanistan had a thriving tourism industry. Nearly 200,000 people visited Afghanistan in 1977. But this picture needs to be nuanced. The speedy development of tourism brought Afghanistan out of its century long isolation in the international community. Many of those who visited Afghanistan, as simple tourists during these years, became active supporters of Afghanistan and of Afghan people when the very existence of the country was at stakes. But tourism in the 1970s had also a dark face. Numbers of young “hippies” came to Afghanistan because of cheap high quality drugs. Would have this situation lasted for a few years, the moral disorder created by these tourists would run out of control.
Whatever the perspectives, this nascent tourism sector collapsed after the coup in 1978 and is unlikely to recover while Afghanistan’s international public image remains as one of a violent and dangerous locations.
Demographically Afghanistan is a very young nation. Nearly half of the population is under the age of 16 and 67 percent are under 25. Lack of educational facilities and a stable economy have meant that many young people have been deprived of education and employment opportunities.
In this context defining a long term and comprehensive strategic framework for Afghanistan’s cultural and media development will require a precise assessment of existing challenges and opportunities, an academic approach and high forecasting skills. Defining this long term strategy should be one of the major projects of the MoIC. Work on this will start in 1386 with technical assistance from international agencies, mainly UNESCO. In the meantime, the Ministry has identified short-and medium-term goals that are attainable within a period of five years.
IV     STRATEGY FOR THE MEDIA, CULTURE AND YOUTH SECTOR
Objectives and Vision
The first principle in the Afghanistan compact is a requirement to “respect the pluralistic culture, values and history of Afghanistan, based on Islam.” This should be the major objective in the culture sub-sector. In terms of the strategy this principle means that the diverse cultures of Afghanistan should be able to exist together in a spirit of tolerance

Museums, libraries, the performing arts, national sports, writing, poetry, music and film are all part of the complex mosaic of Afghanistan cultures that need to be preserved and developed in order to create a pluralistic culture with a full appreciation of the values and history of Afghanistan.

In the area of media, it follows from this basic first principle of the Afghanistan compact that media policy should allow freedom of expression. Afghanistan is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose Article 19 states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”  The Afghan National Development Strategy requires that “Media are independent, pluralistic, accessible throughout the country and produce high-quality information relevant to the lives of Afghans.”  

Media pluralism is one of the most important achievments of Afghanistan’s nascent democracy in the post-Taliban era. Developing Codes of Conduct to ensure that media professionals behave in accordance with high standards of discipline and responsibility in the legal framewark provided by the Media Law will ensure a sustainable, socially responsible media system.

In the area of youth, the Afghanistan compact  requires an increase in employment of youth by 2010.

In the area of tourism, the objective of further development is inextricably related to the improvement of the security situation to which the Government gives a high priority. Afghanistan. Tourism represents an important potential strategy for economic development of Afghanistan. This potential can only be achieved if there is an improvement in the security situation.


Culture Strategy
The strategy should promote Afghanistan’s cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is both a prerequisite and a manifestation of a pluralistic society. The diversity of cultural expressions and practices to be found in Afghanistan is a living legacy of the country’s rich multicultural past.

The overall vision is that the cultural heritage of Afghanistan is preserved, protected and handed on to young generations of Afghans as a record of the rich human experience and aspirations in their country, so as to foster cultural creativity in all its diversity;

Key issues:

i. First priority is to compile a comprehensive inventory of Afghanistan’s cultural items. This will require development of a computerized data base that contains both text and graphic material. The data base should be adapted to allow for the presentation of a virtual Afghanistan Museum on the internet. Sponsorship of the internet site by private companies should be obtained.

ii. Illicit traffic of cultural property makes Afghanistan’s cultural heritage one of the most endangered in the world and fuels insecurity and economic exploitation of local populations. Much of Afghanistan’s collection has been stolen. Some is being offered for trade between private collectors. Other material has been confiscated by foreign government authorities (e.g. UK Customs) and is available to be reclaimed by Afghanistan Museum authorities. There are also key items that are in the possession of well known figures, mainly resident in Pakistan. Requests for the return of these items by Museum authorities may be successful. After ratification of related international instruments in 2006, Afghanistan has been attempting to make legal claims for the return of stolen cultural property. Further work, not necessarily involving legal claims but rather negotiation, will increase the probability that these items can be returned.
    
iii. Legal and policy frameworks related to culture are weak and incomprehensive. There is a need to guarantee respect of cultural rights for all Afghan citizens.

iv. The country’s cultural heritage (monuments, sites, but also audio-visual heritage, intangible heritage) is in an overall situation of severe degradation or destruction. There is a need to restore and secure items.

v. There is a need to rethink and make effective the delivery of public cultural services throughout the country, by redefining the role of public cultural institutions and creating an enabling environment for the development of private cultural initiatives.

vi. Artists and intellectuals have suffered repression – and to a certain extent continue to suffer from repression. This has meant that in some art forms (eg music and dance) the country is now facing a gap in the transmission of knowledge that is necessary to maintain Afghanistan’s intangible cultural heritage alive.

vii. Folklore, traditional knowledge’s and the cultural assets of small communities which face the risk of disappearance need systematic academic assessment and documentation in order to preserve them

viii. Discriminatory practices against women have impaired a more active participation from them thereby limiting the opportunity to enrich Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. Women’s role in arts and culture should be encouraged...

To achieve the overall vision, the main lines of action are:

i. Catalogue the existing collection. Compile a computer data base with text and graphics
ii. Undertake a concerted diplomatic and legal effort to obtain cultural items that have been taken from the country.
iii. Build the capacity of the staff of Kabul Museum to care, maintain the museum and restore its capacity to provide a public service.
iv. Development of a strategic plan for the provincial museums
v. Investigate the possibility of displaying pieces abroad. (Note this has already been done in a very limited way)
vi. Development of a strategy for thematic museums such as ethnology, anthropology, science and technology, handicrafts and community museums.
vii. Capacity building and professional development at the Institute of Archeology 
viii. Undertake scientific interventions to safeguard maintain and restore Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, in particular major historical and cultural monuments and sites along with preserving, archiving and developing local languages and tradition to support the establishment of gender sensitive cultural policies which protect Afghanistan’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage, promote cultural industries, and value artists and intellectuals.
ix. Document major items of cultural significance. This includes the controlled archeological exploration and documentation of the archeological sites that exist in Afghanistan. This could be done as joint projects with international universities and archeological agencies. The target is to achieve within the next 3 years is a 20 percent survey of all archeological sites, and a 60 percent survey of all historical monuments with a 20 percent restoration, however this could be accelerated by engaging in properly controlled joint ventures.
x. Construction of a building at the central archive Kabul
xi. Search, identify and document Afghanistan’s folklore heritage folklore heritage;
xii. Document the  languages spoken in Afghanistan
xiii. Document and record Afghanistan music
xiv. Encourage the  growth of cinematographic productions and encourage the role of women in this area
xv. Development of professionalism among men and women in the State run Afghan Film organization.
xvi. Enhance the capacity of Afghan Film to produce 12 films annually and private outlets to produce 100 films;
xvii. Reconstruction and rehabilitation of Kabul Theater
xviii. Activation of theater teams in provinces.
xix. Development and expansion of circus arts starting with expansion of Afghan Mobile Mini Circus (AMMC)
xx. Together with the support of the MoHE introduce figurative arts including painting, sculpture and calligraphy in the provinces and provide education courses for figurative arts.
xxi. Together with MoHE introduce museum studies at Kabul and other universities.
xxii. Rehabilitate and transform the country’s public cultural institutions into modern, country-wide public services.
Media strategy
The overall vision is to develop media - including national public information services – that are independent, pluralistic and accessible to Afghan women and men throughout the country.  Issues associated with media expansion will need to be handled jointly with the Information and Communication Sector plans contained in their strategy.

Key issues:
i. Most media infrastructure and equipment for both printing press and broadcasting media are out of-date have been damaged or deliberately destroyed.

ii. During the Taliban era, independent media was banned and state-owned media were fully controlled by political power.

iii. At this time the media profession experienced extremely difficult and instable working conditions. Female media professionals were denied access to their work. The profession suffers from a lack of adequate professional skills.

To achieve the overall vision, the main lines of actions are:

i. Transform state-owned media into editorially independent public services able to reach the majority of the population with international standard journalistic contents and a strong commitment to the strategic goals of the country in the fields of public health, education, security, cultural diversity, gender, national unity, specific Afghan values and homogeneous national development.
ii. Facilitate the establishment of gender sensitive policy and legal frameworks supporting independent and pluralistic media.
iii. Build capacities of the media of both professionals and media outlets
iv. Monitor the operation of the new media law and review its operation in 2009. As part of this activity, prepare and implement a set of guidelines related to ethics of journalism among free media organs;
v. Launch global broadcasting of Radio Afghanistan through satellite, internet and other modern means. Private sector sponsorship of Radio Afghanistan, provided it does not affect the editorial independence of the agency should be encouraged
vi. Expand radio coverage in the provinces
vii. Provincial TV stations to expand local programs to a minimum of daily 10 hours
viii. A complex to accommodate ministry’s building, studios for TV and a grand convention center for international conferences will be completed by end 2009.
ix. The number of state newspapers will be reviewed and if appropriate will be reduced to a fewer papers with enhanced coverage and better quality.
x. Preparation and implementation of an affirmative action plan for women and media;
xi. Rationalization of the structure of Bakhtar News  Agency (BNA)  and expanding its services in provinces;
xii. Develop principles and guidelines for the provision of information/news to free media outlets;
Youth Strategy
Youth is the major component of Afghanistan’s demography. Traditionally, Afghan society is based on “Adult prominence” but young talents have always been in a position to gain their due place in the social life. Therefore, Afghan Youth Empowerment is a very realistic and practical goal that will be achieved through the National Youth Program. This program will be imlpemented with the assistance of the inetrnational organizatrions.
Ofcourse, youth issue is a crosscutting issue for all governmental agencies and non govermental organizations. Cooperation will be sought with all concerned partners nationally and inetrnationally.
• Developing professional skills is one of the most effective means to reduce unemployment of the young generation. The ministry of culture will seize any occasion to encourage youth to go through training courses available and to encourage government agencies and non governmental organizations to provide such trainings.
• Afghan youth shall be closely associated in the local, provincial and national governance. For this aim to be met, youth associations and  youth voluntarism will be encouraged through specfic actions within the National Youth Program.

Extensive reforms have been introduced within the education strategy that is designed to assist youth. These include expansion of the education system; rehabilitation programs for young people whose education may have been limited because of the security situation; and reforms to vocational education to provide youth with marketable skills and better employment opportunities. In addition a Joint National Youth Program is being implemented. This program which has been produced with inputs from eight Ministries of the Government of Afghanistan and seven United Nations agencies is designed to increase the participation of youth in governance, recovery, development and peace-building of Afghanistan. It provides young women and men with enhanced capacities, education, and recreation and employment opportunities. The National Youth Program contains four main components:

• Strengthening the capacity of the Government to respond to the needs of the youth of the country.
• Promoting non-formal education, increasing awareness and developing skills (literacy, leadership, strategic planning, conflict resolution, peace-building, etc.) in young people so to provide better quality of life and livelihood opportunities.
• Engaging youth in governance, development and social-political processes at local, district, municipal, provincial and national level, ensuring the participation of young women and men in democracy and advocacy.
• Promoting voluntary efforts for peace and development and establishing a youth volunteer corps for Afghanistan.

Encouragement of NGO and private sector participation in both culture and media

NGOs and the private sector have an important role in arts and culture. There are specialized NGOs that can make important contributions in arts, culture and media. As pointed out previously, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage (SPACH), Society for the Preservation of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage (SPACH), Delegation Archeologique en Afghanistan (DAFA), Centre Cultural Francais de Kaboul, Turquoise Mountain Foundation (TMF), Foundation for Culture and Civil Society (FCCS), Goethe Institute and others can make an important contribution. The private sector should have a role, as it does in many other countries, of sponsoring initiatives in the cultural and media sector. For example, the virtual online museum that has been proposed could easily find private sector sponsors. Similarly cultural events could be sponsored by the private sector. Some of the strategies to involve the private sector in sponsorship overlap into the sports strategy covered in the Education strategy. For example, there are private sector firms that would sponsor buzkashi tournaments and TV companies that would pay to have exclusive rights to film these events. It would be possible to engage the services of a promotions expert who could liaise with the private sector to develop private sector contracts designed to support activities in art culture and the media.   These potential links between the private sector and NGO and culture and media interests should be encouraged and developed. In the media, private sector involvement as service providers should be supported.
Overall Strategic Objectives
Priority short term policies over the next four years involve the establishment and maintenance of a cultural artifacts database; introduction of new Media Legislation; and launching global broadcasting of Radio Afghanistan through satellite, internet and other modern means. Other measures include: expansion of radio coverage in the provinces; Provincial TV stations to expand local programs to 10 hours per day; a complex to accommodate ministry’s building, studios for TV and a grand convention center for international conferences to be completed by end 2009; the number  of state newspapers to be reviewed and, if appropriate, to be reduced to a fewer papers with enhanced coverage and improved quality; improved security for  Kabul museum; and building capacity building of women and men staff in the Ministry. Development of strategic plan for the provincial museums; recovery of the stolen artifacts through international and bilateral relations; and organizing, legalizing and regularizing exhibition of museum abroad.

Priority medium term policies over the next 3 to 5 years include development of a strategy for thematic museums such as ethnology, anthropology, science and technology, handicrafts and community museums; ensuring sustainability of the free media through aid assistance and commercial support; infrastructure development; development of museums in provinces; development of a system for the exchange of artifacts between in-country and abroad museums; introduction of museum studies at Kabul and other universities; 60 percent of all archeological sites to be surveyed; 40 percent of all historical monuments to be surveyed; 50 percent of all historical monuments to be rehabilitated; development of an archive for the minority languages of the country; research and development of languages; equipping of Afghan music with modern technology; implementation and monitoring of the affirmative action plan for women and media; Enhancement of Afghan Film and private outlets capacity to produce 250-300 films annually; introduction and development of mobile cinema; construction of new theaters in Kabul and provinces; and upgrading figurative arts to a national art level.

In the longer term  (5-20 years), activities include development of museums of other cultures; infrastructure development for museum;100 percent survey of all archeological sites;100 percent survey of all historical monuments;100 percent rehabilitation of all historical monuments; enhancement and achievement of plans and programs specified in the affirmative action for women and media; development of cinemas in provinces; construction of theaters in districts and villages; development, expansion and publicizing of circus; and higher studies courses  in universities such as Masters and PhD in figurative arts to be offered.


Protect and Preserve Afghanistan’s cultural Heritage
War, exile, migrations, poverty, lack of educational infrastructure, weakening of traditional values and exposure to tremendous cultural importations has changed Afghanistan into a consumer country even in the field of cultural products. It will not be an exaggeration if we spoke about cultural invasion in the context of today’s Afghanistan.
To survive as a country with millennium long cultural development, Afghanistan needs to reaffirm her cultural identiy.
During the former Soviet occupation and, later, during the rule of the parties, national unity was put at stakes by foreign or partisan interests. Nation building is the utmost necessity of today’s Afghanistan. To reach this goal, Afghan people need to reassert their national identity.
On the other hand, Afghanistan’s most valuable archeological heritage was either destroyed or stolen. Unfortunately the international community who committed itself to Afghanistan’s reconstruction rather underestimated the cultural reconstruction of the country although during the past five years, main effort in this regard was dedicated to the restoration of archeological assets and to the recovery of stolen artifact. In this regards, the Afghanistan Compact Benchmark in the field of Culture was set as following:

A comprehensive inventory of Afghan cultural treasures will be compiled by end-2007. Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to stop the illegal removal of cultural material and to restore damaged monuments and artifacts by end-2010.

The ministry thinks that Afghanistan’s cultural reconstruction both tangible and intangible is a really challenging issue which needs a holistic policy and strategy. Afghanistan’s national identity is made of shared values by all its people but it is also made of the specificities of the various ethnic groups living in the country. Asserting Afghan national identity means that both shared values and the specific features of every single ethnic group are equally recognized and valued. For the Afghans to recognize themselves in the State, the State itself must be representative of all the components of the society. Experience has proved that sharing power on ethnic basis only is a failure when the major objective is « nation building ». While the ministry acknowledges the need of balance in this regard, it will reach this goal through administrative reform and decentralized appraoch based on the hypothesis that the skills and talents exist in all layers of the Afghan society.
The ministry will also pay due attention to promote cultural pluralism reflecting all ethnic groups living in this country. Afghanistan’s state owned media, especially national radio-television networks, will play the prominent role in this regard.
The ministry will enhance collaboration with its internatinal and domestic partners to preserve the nation’s rich culutral herirage both tangible and intangible. A comprehensive inventory of Afghan culutral treasures will be developed.
Development of the book industry through a holistic approach (writers, translaters, publishers, book sellers, public and private libraries, institutional publications, readership,…) has been ellaborated under the title of « Book Policy ». This policy is considered as a national priority.
Ancient art, archeological findings, anthropological material, modern art and national handicraft will be given due exposure in national and provincial musea. Kabul national museum will be modernized and many provincial musea will be created.
Afghanistan’s known archeological material will be preserved, cured and restaured. Besides, new explorations will take place.
In this regard, smuggling of archeological material and unlawful excavation constitute a major problem. Cooperation with international police authorities already exists. This cooperation will be reinforced. Preservation of unexplored, or partially explored, archeological fields is a real concern for the ministry. There is a small police force dedicated to the protection of arceological sites. This force should be strengthened and well equipped in order to become a dissuading tool against smugglers and looters.
Afghan theater, once flourishing in the 1970’s has lost its vivacity during past 15 years. Reviving afghan theater, both in terms of playwriting and theater representation, is necessary.
National archives will be developed and have their capacity extended.
The MoIC seeks increased support to counter looting and illicit traffic of cultural heritage. The ratification by Afghanistan of the 1970 UNESCO Convention and 1995 UNIDROIT Convention will be followed by a series of concrete measures, in particular:

i. Increased presence on and security of archaeological sites;
ii. Public awareness campaign; and professional training (police, army, custom);
iii. Consolidation and restoration of damaged monuments/sites, with priority to emergency rehabilitation of Minarets of Jam, Bamyan and Herat;
iv. Inventory of country-wide needs;
v. Creation of supportive environment for protection and promotion of cultural heritage;
vi. International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of Afghanistan’ Cultural Heritage to be supported of advocacy and TA for legal protection;
vii. Material support to the rehabilitation of museums

Expected results would be up-to-date and comprehensive data on the state of the major cultural monuments, sites and museums is available. Major cultural monuments and sites preserved against irreversible deterioration. Museums are rehabilitated, starting by the Kabul Museum. Opportunities for Afghans are enhanced to access and practice their culture. Activities are to include a) tangible heritage: to devise legal policy framework and undertake technical assessment exercise and interventions to preserve and/or rehabilitate major monuments, sites and museums. Salvage excavations to be carried out by scientific teams as a means to prevent looting and irreversible damages. For intangible heritage, including fine arts, creation of an environment supportive and protective of Afghanistan’ living culture (creative activities, folklore, traditional knowledge’s…), including rehabilitation of key public spaces for cultural activities and training of cultural professions.
Cultural policies/legal frameworks :
The 1980 Law on Cultural Heritage was revised to meet international standards of legal protection against illicit traffic and entered into force in May 2004. One International Convention on illicit traffic (UNESCO –1970) was ratified in 2006 and the other is in the process of ratification (UNIDROIT 1995). Under the auspices of the UNESCO Executive Board, an International Coordination Committee (ICC) for the Afghanistan’ Cultural Heritage was organized with the task of advising the Director General on measures to better implement and reinforce international cooperation. A first Plenary Session was held in June 2003 at UNESCO.
Recognition of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage as part of the World Cultural Heritage:
In 2002, the Minaret of Jam (Ghor Province) was the first cultural and historical monument in Afghanistan to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. Subsequently, the historical site of Bamiyan became World Heritage in 2003. As a result, both sites benefit from international attention and assistance to promote and protect cultural heritage.
Scientific interventions to protect Afghanistan’s cultural heritage:
In an initial stage, focus has been on emergency interventions, including the commencement/continuation/completion of emergency projects: The Fifth Minaret in Herat was temporarily stabilized, and the Buddha niches in Bamiyan were consolidated. Most endangered fragments of the Buddha statues and cave mural paintings in Bamiyan were safely collected and documented. Emergency interventions which were initiated, but not yet completed included: 1. Stabilization of the Jam Minaret; 2.Rehabilitation of Timor Shah’s tomb; 3. Rehabilitation of Babur Gardens; 4. Rehabilitation of Kabul Museum; 5. Excavations of archaeological sites begun in the Babur Gardens (remains of original Timurid garden) and through an excavations and geo-electromagnetic survey in Bamiyan valley (remains of Buddhist monastery), 6. Rehabilitation of Qala-e Ikhtyaruldin; 7. Restoration of Haji Pyada Mosque; 8. Rehabilitation of Ghazni Museum; 9. Rehabilitation of Gawhar Shad Mausoleum; 10. Archaeological Surveys in Bamyan, Sari Pul, Balkh, Jawzjan and Faryab, etc.

Rehabilitation/transformation of cultural institutions: Initial support has been provided to Afghan Film (revitalization of mobile cinema; digitalization of film archives), to the Main Public Library, to the National Gallery and to the school of fine arts. A needs assessment for comprehensive rehabilitation program of National Archives and Public Library was completed. A Culture and Civil Society Foundation has been established. Public Library Services have been rehabilitated. Management infrastructures have been established to rebuild records and archives.
Support to Museums:
As an initial focus on the reparation of the Kabul Museum, physical rehabilitation of the building has been fully funded and expected to be completed by the end of 2008. UNESCO finalized the inventories of approximately 75 per cent of the museum’s holdings. It also proceeded with conservation interventions on numerous collections in the museum, including Aï Khanum, Tepe Sardar, Ghazni, Nuristan, Fondukistan, Bamiyan and a substantial amount of the large ceramics collection, covering various archaeological periods, as well as the ethnographic and other smaller collections.

A number of other initiatives have been undertaken in 2005 and 2006 including the construction of an inventory database. UNESCO is also providing modern photographic equipment and training in publications to assist in the promotion of the museum and disseminating information to the public. UNESCO will also implement further structural work and embellishments to the museum building in 2006 and 2007, in order to provide an environment conducive for the museum to fully realize its function within Afghan society.

A number of European Museums (British Museum, Musee Guimet, etc) have been supporting the conservation of museum artifacts in Afghanistan, and a number of societies for the preservations of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage continue activities for safeguarding the collections of the Museum.
In order to protect the cultural specificities of Afghanistan against unconscious harmfull activities and against malevolent assaults a comprehensive set of laws and regulations shall be adopted :
• The copyright law will allow artists and creators to progressively make their living on their creative activities without being exposed to plagiarism. It will also enable Afghanistan to comply with WTO requirements.
• Laws and regulations on advertisements will ensure fair competition and avoid misuse of national and collective values for commercial purpose.
• Laws and regulations to prevent human smuggling, prostitution publicity and child pornongraphy will set Afghan legislation in line with international norms and will protect the moral health of the population.
Activities in Support of the Strategy:
Target 1) A comprehensive inventory of Afghan cultural treasures will be compiled by end-2007.
Target 3) Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to restore damaged monuments and artifacts by end-2010.

Ongoing activities in support of the strategy include:
From 1385-1386 the priority in this sector will be the combined implementation of Targets1 and 3, involving both inventory and conservation of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, including monuments, sites and artifacts. Enhancing the capacity of Departments and personnel within the MoIC will form an important part of these activities.
a. Registration, conservation and restoration of sites and monuments: The MoIC will facilitate the efforts of donors (UNESCO, AKTC, Turquoise Mountain, Germany, Japan, USA, Italy, France, Switzerland, etc.) and implementing agencies in ongoing documentation, conservation and restoration activities of sites and monuments in Kabul, Herat, Ghor, Ghazni, Bamiyan, Balkh 1385-1386.
b. The MoIC will continue registration and conservation of monuments, sites and artifacts from its core budget from 1385-1389.
c. Registration, conservation and restoration of movable cultural heritage in the National Museum from 1385-1389 and training and equipping departments (UNESCO, USA, Greek Government, Netherlands, Japan, France, India, SPACH).
d. Publication of the collections of the National Museum of Afghanistan in 1385-6 (UNESCO, SPACH).
e. Infrastructure Rehabilitation – This activity will rehabilitate or build museums to house Afghan movable heritage in Kabul, Bamiyan and Ghazni between 1385 and 1386. MoIC and UNESCO will co-lead this effort with the support of the Governments of Greece, Italy and Japan.
f. Establishing photographic and field conservation laboratories in the Institute of Archaeology (India)
g. Inventory, conservation and infrastructure rehabilitation in the National Archives, including training for staff (NYU, India).
h. Return of collection safeguarded by the Swiss (Bibliotheca Afghanica) and SPACH in 1385.
i. Adopting international legal instruments to protect cultural heritage from destruction and illicit traffic – 1385-1386.
j. A pilot project to begin inventory of intangible cultural heritage (Music) 1385.
Priority:
The Ministry, donors and implementing agencies in the cultural development sector will continue their work in the current inventory of monuments, sites and cultural property in different areas of the country while attempting to tackle the problem of illicit traffic of antiquities. Attention will be focused on the four principal departments of the MoIC (Museums, Historical Monuments, National Archives and Institute of Archaeology) responsible for inventory, conservation and restoration of tangible cultural heritage. New projects related to the inventory and promotion of the intangible heritage, mostly music traditions, folklore, traditional knowledge, languages and handicraft will start within adequate administrative and operational structures. Projects will include significant vocational training and capacity-building components while also achieving measurable inventory and conservation results against the Benchmark in order to enhance the ability of all four Departments to safeguard, preserve and manage cultural heritage resources in Afghanistan.
Department of Museums:
Inventory: The National Museum has registered 41,000 artifacts of movable cultural property up to 1385 and will continue the registration of approximately 4,000 more objects up to 1389. The continuation of the inventory project has funding from UNESCO, the Governments of Greece, USA and India over the next year. Inventory work will proceed along with conservation and restoration of important collections and objects with funds from the same donors. Full conservation and restoration of the Museum’s collections will take many years and require much more funding than is currently available.

Restitution of Cultural Property: The authorities will work with foreign governments and international organizations such as UNESCO, Interpol, ICOM, ICCROM, ICMOS, etc. to facilitate the return of cultural property to Afghanistan that has been confiscated by customs officials or sent abroad for safekeeping during the war in those foreign countries. The first such return is scheduled before the end of 1385 from the Bibliotheca Afghanica (Switzerland) which has held and collected many items of Afghan cultural property in trust over the years. Negotiation has also begun with institutions and the governments of Great Britain, France, Norway and Japan for the return of cultural property illicitly trafficked to those countries.

Infrastructure Rehabilitation: This activity will rehabilitate or build museums to house Afghan movable heritage in Kabul, Bamiyan and Ghazni between 1385 and 1386. MoIC and UNESCO will co-lead this effort with the support of the Governments of Greece, Italy, and Japan. The governments of USA, UK and India will also support infrastructure rehabilitation in the sector. Functioning museums open to the public will play an important role in safeguarding the national heritage, educating the public on the art and archaeology of Afghanistan and in raising awareness on cultural heritage issues.

Capacity-Building: Training of museum staff in Kabul and from the provinces will continue over the next few years under the USA and Greek funded projects in the areas of conservation, collections care and management , restoration and museum management in general.

Department of Historical Monuments:
The Department of Historical Monuments currently has 125 monuments registered for the national inventory and will register 20 more to the end of 1385 and 45 more to the end of 1389. Donors and implementing agencies will also contribute to the national inventory by providing documentation to the Department of their activities in relation to historical sections of Afghanistan’s cities and their monuments. The Department may then also proceed to enter these new monuments on the official national register. AKTC is currently working on a project of registration, conservation and restoration of buildings in the City of Herat and on several monuments in Kabul. UNESCO, AACHEN University and ICOMOS are currently working on inventory and conservation of monuments within the World Heritage Site of Bamiyan with funding from the Governments of Germany and Japan. UNESCO is also working on conservation of monuments in Herat (Jam) with the financial assistance from the government of Italy and Switzerland. UNESCO and DAFA are in the early stages of a project to conserve and scientifically document the important monument of Haji Piyada in Balkh. Turquoise Mountain is operating two schools to train craftsmen in traditional building techniques in support of conservation and restoration work in the sector. Activities such as these will all make a contribution to achieving the Benchmark.
Historically, Afghanistan has played a pivotal role in the development of the Islamic art. Survey, inventory and eventually preserving this heritage is among the top priorities of the MoIC.

Afghanistan’s most important monuments must be singled out for enhanced protection through being entered on the national register of monuments by the end of 1386. Further funding should be sought for capacity-building and vocational training for professionals within the Department to enhance its capacity to document, conserve and restore Afghanistan’s historical monuments.
Institute of Archaeology:
The Institute of Archaeology currently has 1271 archaeological sites on the national register. However, registration of sites in itself cannot protect them from looting across all regions of the country. The need for trained and well equipped security force is generally understood by government authorities. During the pas few years a special security unit was in charge of committing illegal excavations. Though proved quite effective in some regards, this small force is hardly capable of protecting all threatened zones. In the coming years effective means to protect and preserve archeological areas shall be sought in cooperation with the security organs.

However, the efforts of the Institute must also be supported by strengthening the legal framework and the enforcement of the law in relation to archaeological sites, through regional cooperation to stop illicit traffic at the borders, and awareness-raising at both the national and the international level. The Institute will aim to develop greater cooperation with other relevant ministries in order to see a decrease in the looting of sites around the country.

The Institute currently has funding from the EC for an archeological survey in the southern part of Kabul and the government of India is supporting the set-up of field and photographic laboratories in the Institute.

More funding to survey and excavate sites must be secured in order to identify the most important areas for protection and also to salvage important sites that will simply disappear if left to the looters and smugglers.
Target 2) Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to stop the illegal removal of cultural material

A multi-layered strategy will be employed to address Target 2 and the complex problem of illicit traffic of antiquities.

1) The MoIC will begin immediate procedures for the return of Afghan movable heritage with those governments that hold Afghan material in trust, resulting from both illicit traffic from Afghanistan and objects sent abroad for safekeeping during the war. This will be achieved through bilateral agreements and with the assistance of UNESCO;

2) The MoIC will take immediate steps to build stronger connections with other Ministries such as MoD, MoFA, MoI, to raise awareness of the problem and to seek cooperation of these Ministries in the prevention and control of looting by enforcing the Afghan “Law on the Protection of Historical and Cultural Properties 2004”. This will be achieved through conducting regular meetings/seminars, sharing information, raising awareness of the officials, entering into agreements for specific service provision, etc.;

3) Training and expansion for a CULTURAL HERITAGE POLICE force with donor support to increase protection of important sites and monuments throughout the country;

4) National / International awareness rising: the MoIC will raise awareness at the local level and seek to engage local communities and Councils in protecting archaeological sites from looting and destruction. The MoIC, with the assistance of donors and international organizations, such as INTERPOL, ICOM, ICCROM and ICOMOS will engage the media in raising general awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and of the scale of the problem in Afghanistan. At the international level the MoIC with donors assistance will continue to raise awareness of the scale of the leakage of Afghan antiquities into foreign countries and seek their cooperation to control imports of movable cultural heritage from Afghanistan; and

5) The MoIC will seek to strengthen the legal framework and Afghanistan’s international standing on the issue of illicit traffic by Afghanistan’s ratification of relevant international laws protecting cultural heritage (two conventions have been already signed and other international conventions will be signed in the future). 
Rehabilitation of the National Museum:
The rehabilitation of the National Museum has focused on three important areas of concern, including infrastructure, inventory and capacity-building and has thereby made a significant contribution to the reconstruction of cultural heritage infrastructure in Afghanistan. Activities have included the reconstruction of the building destroyed in the civil war, registration of 41,000 objects combined with ongoing capacity-building programs and initiatives. The inventory, conservation and restoration projects in the National Museum have been very successful over the past few years because they not only focused on measurable outcomes in terms of the collections protected and registered through the process, but also because the project has focused on capacity-building and training of Museum staff in better collections care and management. The project has involved the cooperation of many international institutions and experts and thereby helped to develop strong links between Afghanistan and foreign cultural institutions. The projects are ongoing.
Developing the National Museum activity and creating provincial museum will require new infrastructure facilities. Construction of a new building for the National Museum with necessary security and technical means is a priority.
National Archives:
The National Archives houses a collection of important Islamic manuscripts as part of the national cultural heritage. From 1385-1387 the archives will be digitally inventoried, receive conservation treatment and the environmental conditions of the Archives improved to enhance the conservation of important documents. Funding will be provided by NYU with the assistance of the Government of India.
National archives will also extend their activity to keep and preserve archive material about Afghanistan’s recent history and its intangible cultural heritage.
Policy for preservation of the local languages & expansion of foreign languages
Besides the major linguistic communities in Afghanistan (as stated in the constitution) there are many other linguistic groups with small numbers. Our committment to cultural diversity will require that special attention is paid to these languages and cultures since ethnic and cultural communities shall have the right to practice their beliefs, use their languages and develop their cultures within their customs. Archiving linguistic, artistic and anthropologic material for safeguareding the memory of these communities is considered as a priority. 
Media Goal and Desired Outcomes (Policy Framework and Objectives)
To promote an Afghan-run independent media requires:
i. Development of a truly editorially independent public service broadcasting and of a high standard educational radio-TV production centre
ii. Provision of Legal frameworks for free and independent media
iii. Development of new self-sustainable electronic and printed independent media
iv. Provision of equipment production and broadcasting infrastructures
v. Skills training. Continuous training for journalists, with special emphasis on women journalists, and regional representatives and including training-trainers program and capacity building at faculties of journalism.
vi. Promoting the media as an educational tool in addition to entertainment. Key priorities include a country-wide coverage of public Afghan media (radio and television), an increased number of hours of public broadcasting, and improved quality of programming. These objectives need to be met urgently in order for public media to play a significant role in increasing understanding among Afghan citizens on the constitutional and electoral processes. In addition, the finalization of an amended press law will aim at creating a positive environment for the further development of independent media, thus allowing Afghans to have access to diversified sources of information. Expected results are for state-owned print and audio-visual media to be transformed and upgraded into truly editorially independent public information services. Afghan media professional have gained new technical knowledge and program production skills. Expanded public radio programs are accessible to Afghans throughout the country. Women participation in Afghan media and cultural development is strengthened. Main activities would include devising and operational zing change strategies to help state owned media intuitions in Kabul and the provinces in providing high standard, adequately equipped and trained public information services, . For the protection of independent media, develop policy frameworks which support the continuous development and protection of free flow of information and independent media in Afghanistan.
Freedom of expression
Media infrastructure rehabilitation:
In an effort towards the reconstruction and development of infrastructure for independent media, including technical support and training, the Radio Television Afghanistan television headquarters has been entirely re-equipped with a substantial in-kind contribution from the Japanese government. Different governmental and intergovernmental donors (India, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, UNAMA, UNESCO) have also teamed up to extend RTA broadcasting coverage and/or showed interest in providing training for what is considered as one of the main weaknesses of RTA, namely upgrading staff professional skills. As part of the updating of the Education Radio Television Service, a two year project implemented by UNESCO was funded by the Government of Italy, which includes the rehabilitation and re-equipping of former headquarters of the ERTV and an extensive training strategy to upgrade production and managerial skills of the staff. Bakhtar News Agency (the national Afghan News Agency) has been revived and A Media Resource Centre has been opened in Afghanistan. The BBC's World Service Trust is active in raising a generation of media professionals committed to the principles of independent broadcasting journalism providing training -together with the Associated Press-, to 500 afghan journalists. The Trust oversees the Afghan Education Projects (AEP) which comprises several key projects, including: “New Home, New Life”, Radio Educational Features, Afghan Publishing House, Radio Education for Afghan Children etc. UNESCO has also providing support to the training of the media workers, sending the teaching staff of the Faculty of Journalism at the University of Kabul abroad for training and working on refurbishing the faculty building.

Afghanistan is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose Article 19 states that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Media pluralism is one of the most important achievments of Afghanistan’s nascent democracy in the post-Taliban era. Developing Codes of Conduct to ensure that media professionals behave in accordance with high standards of discipline and responsibility in the legal framewark provided by the Media Law will ensure a sustainable, socially responsible media system.
The Ministry sees its role in the sector as having several dimensions:
- Support to the professional development of the media sector. In collaboration with the national authorities, the Ministry of Information and Culture will seek technical assistance to develop a standard Media and Communication Curriculum for Afghanistan’s universities. Academic courses will be provided at BA, MA and Doctoral level, and the universities and technical and vocational institutes will also provide short-term, on-the-job and refresher training for media professionals.
- Support to professional media associations. Self-regulation is at the heart of media independence; Afghan media professionals need to understand and advocate for responsible media development, and the Ministry sees its role as providing a supportative environment for independent media associations.
- Access to information. The Ministry will work with legal and technical experts to develop an Access to Information law to promote transparency, accountability and responsible journalism. The Ministry will provide, through its own institutions, databases and thinktanks, free, reliable services to the independent media to enable them to develop skills in analysis and reporting.
- The Ministry will develop a fair and transparent policy covering the issuance of broadcast licences, which includes consideration of commercial advertising and intellectual property.
- The Ministry will support the nascent national print industry, developing policy frameworks to ensure that printed material in national languages is accessible to all communities.
- The Ministry will support Afghan media professionals accessing information and media from abroad through the negotiating of scholarships and training programmes with donor institutions.
- The Ministry will support the development of a national broadcaster to ensure that it attains a national as well as international footprint through terrestrial and satellite technology.
- Freedom of expression depends on mutual understanding of social responsibility. The Ministry will engage in open dialogue with all professional media organizations.
The UNESCO 2006 ‘Colombo Declaration on Media, Development and Poverty Eradication’ provides us with a clear consensus on two fundamental issues relating to development:        

Press freedom is central concern to empowering people living in poverty; Current development policy, which aims at achieving the MDGs, needs a free and plural media engaged in issues of development. This Declaration is grounded in decades of debate on the role of a free and pluralist media as a catalyst for equitable and sustainable development.

In an era of exponential growth in ICTs, access to information and to means of expression is becoming more widely available, and the media is becoming recognized as a powerful tool to shape policy agendas. Freedom of expression is now acknowledged as a ‘fundamental right which underpins all other human rights’ (Panos, 2003), a ‘cornerstone right – one that enables other rights to be protected and exercised’ (Article 19, 2006) and ‘the oxygen on which other liberties depend’ (UNESCO, 2006).

With this in mind, it is needed to promote and monitor human rights, especially the cornerstone right of Freedom of Expression, provide technical input to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission work plan relating to its area of competence and help build the capacity of civil society, media professionals, parliamentarians and policy makers to understand, support and promote FEX and associated human rights.
Entertainment (music, theatre, etc.)
Afghanistan’s film industry has a huge development potential. Several TV stations need a considerable amount of cinematographic production, TV films, documentarie, serials and soap opera. Afghan cinemas are less developed but the need for more cinemas is obvious. National production being next to nothing, available space is occupied by “Bollywood” productions and some Iranian movies. Even western cinema gets limited exposure because of poor dubbing facilities.
Afghanistan has quite some artists who are able to give a new start to the film industry. Educating new actors and film makers will be made easier if the country resumes its activity in this field.
Since Afghan film makers do not have access to reliable technical means in traditional cinematography, the easiest way to give an impulse to Afghan cinema production is to shift to digital technology. Producing at least one new movie every month using digital technology seems a realistic goal. “Afghan Film” will play a much more active part in making realistic regulations and in helping private film industry to find its right place in Afghanistan’s cinematography. Cinema halls are rather scarce in Afghanistan. The ministry will explore any possible means to help private investors to fill the empty space. State-owned cinemas will be progressively reoriented to the promotion of “Art and essay” productions. In this regard, ECO Cultural Institute in its 3rd Board of Trustees meeting in Islamabad (May 22, 2007) endorsed Afghanistan’s proposal for creating an ECO sponsored cinema development fund. Based on this tool and similar set-ups at a national level will help Afghan film makers to be less affected by financial constraints.
Afghanistan has a rich musical tradition. The two decades from 1970 to 1990 coincided with a flourishing music production. Unfortunately during the last decade many musicians left the country and new generation did not have the opportunity to find its due place in Afghanistan’s artistic landscape. Rehabilitation of national traditions along with developing new technics and skills inspired by international artistic trends will allow Afghanistan to renew its musical tradition.
Music schools shall be developed and steps should be taken towards introducing musicology in the curriculum of the Afghan universities. Afghan artists will be encouraged to perform in other countries in order to create a real cultural exchange with other people.
Dissemination of Information
The strategy highlights the importance of building a culture of education and creating the infrastructure to support this. For example, UNESCO CI’s work in supporting capacity building for distance learning, including helping to shape the Distance Learning component of the Ministry of Education’s Five Year Strategy, illustrates the important role of cross-sectoral work in an era of rapid technological development in the fields of ICTs and the urgent needs to reach communities constrained by gender, socio-economic status, religion, geography or ability from exercising their right to education.
Further support will be needed for the development of policy frameworks in the use of media for education/training, building on the expertise of the sector in media law and the development of locally appropriate content.
State media
This Ministry considers that Afghanistan at this stage in its post-war development requires a state-owned media. Private media have their own interests and challenges. For this very reason highly sensitive issues such as gender policies, public health, national security, Afghanistan’s cultural survival, safeguarding national values cannot be reasonably handed over to the private sector.
- State-owned media will be granted same guarantees of Freedom of Expression as the private media
- The editorial policy of state-owned media shall be determined under the guidance of the Legislative, Executive and the Judiciary branches of the Afghan State
- Radio and Television Afghanistan will create and broadcast high quality cultural and educational programmes and safeguarding Afghanistan’s intangible heritage will be among its top priorities. RTA will also broadcast distance learning programmes.
- Bakhtar Information Agency will progressively extend its coverage area not only in Afghanistan but also internationally. To help private media to develop and gain in sustainability, it will be offered preferential treatment as for the information generated by BIA.
- The State-owned newspapers (eg Anis, Eslah, Hewad, Kabul Times) must review their editorial policies and distribution to gain information efficiency and financial autonomy. Developments in broadcast and electronic technology mean that the Ministry will reconsider the need for State-run print media in the provinces.
Laws and regulations
The Ministry will create a consultative body of lawyers and media professionals to make the drafting of laws an efficient process. The Ministry will take any opportunity to fully discuss draft media laws and regulations with all stakeholders before presenting them to the Legislature. After ratification of laws and regulations the Ministry will seek cooperation from all stakeholders for their implementation in the best interests of all parties.
V    CROSS CUTTING AND OTHER SECTOR RELATED ISSUES
Gender Issues
The Ministry of Infrmation and  Culture, being a key partner of the state owned media, will ensure that promoting women’s empowerment, fighting against domestic violence, denouncing outdated backward traditions and preserving female respect and integrity will remain a core issue for all state owned media. As for the private media sector, the ministry will develop needed legislative and regulatory tools in order to protect female image integrity and to avoid discrimination. At the same time, cooperative actions will be launched between the state owned media and the private media in order to create a national consent on these very fundamental issues.
Within the ministry staff, every possible means will be used to combat discrimination. In order to help female staff to make their claims easily heard by the hierarchy, the ministry will lead in developing and implementing  an affirmative action plan for women and media. A package of gender briefings for media will be developed, consisting of guidenotes on gender sensitve reporting, non-sexist language, and interviewing. 
Environment
Most of MOIC’s activities are closely related to the environment. Preservation and rehabilitation of historical sites and artifacts makes an important contribution to the environment. The MoIC will participate, along with other government agencies, NGOs and civil society, in developing effective strategies for protecting and preserving the environmental assets of the country.

Regional Cooperation
MoIC can further enhance the effectiveness of its programs through active regional cooperation. Tourism, culture and media can be further developed through an effective and fruitful cooperation with regional partners. Regional cooperation can also support and ensure the efforts of MoIC by strengthening the legal framework and the enforcement of the law in relation to archaeological sites to stop illicit traffic at the borders, and awareness-raising at both the national and the international level.
Anti-Corruption
The first step here is institutional strengthening at MoIC. Given the value of many items held on behalf of the museum, it is recommended that an internal audit department be established within MoIC as part of the institutional strengthening. The Ministry will review its security procedures as part of the institutional strengthening project. The Ministry will also make legal and diplomatic efforts to retrieve missing artifacts
Counter Narcotics
The Ministry of Information and Culture will work closely with the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and seek advice from them about the incorporation of an anti drugs message in all forms of media. This can include communicating information on the damage caused by the drugs industry to the nation as a whole, as well as to communities and individuals. Themes and messages can creatively cover different aspects of the National Drug Control Strategy
The National Youth Program, through all its components (from capacity building to local governance and educative programs) will have a special focus on providing awarness about the effects of drugs and show the benfits of a drug-free society.
MoIC should use the existing Afghan Government information assets (newspapers, TV and radio), and can also produce or commission theatre plays, dramas & films on CN themes, arrange mobile cinema screenings in villages, and organize community and youth events.
The Ministry is responsible for activities to prevent drug abuse among youth and to promote demand reduction among the general Afghan community through mass media, both radio/TV and press. MoIC can also reach out to young people in other creative ways such as sponsorships of sports or music events with CN messages, or the involvement of local celebrities into the campaign.
VI    MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Table 1 shows the planned targets and the indicators of success for these targets. It should be noted that the preparation of the cultural inventory is already behind schedule. This is the top priority project.  The early introduction of an IT department within MoIC   will greatly assist in the completion of this project and will enable the inventory to be compiled into a data base that will mean that the inventory has many more applications.

In the media area it is important to monitor the operation of the new media laws and to plan for a review in 2007.

TABLE 1: OUTCOMES, TARGETS AND PROGRESS INDICATORS
Outcomes: Indicators: Baselines: Targets:
Protected and Preserved Afghanistan’s cultural Heritage
a) Registration, conservation and restoration of sites and monuments
b) The MoIC will continue registration and conservation of monuments, sites and artifacts from its core budget from 1385-1389
c) Inventory, conservation and infrastructure rehabilitation in the National Archives, including training for staff
d) Registration, conservation and restoration of movable cultural heritage in the National Museum from 1385-1389
e) Publication of the collections of the National Museum of Afghanistan in 1385-6 (UNESCO, SPACH)
f) Infrastructure Rehabilitation – This activity will rehabilitate or build museums to house Afghan movable heritage in Kabul, Bamiyan and Ghazni
g) Establishing photographic and field conservation laboratories in the Institute of Archaeology
h) Return of collection safeguarded by the Swiss (Bibliotheca Afghanica) and SPACH in 1385
i) Adopting international legal instruments to protect cultural heritage from destruction and illicit traffic – 1385-1386
j) Cultural policies/Legal Framework ( 1980 culture law was revised)
(1385) 41000 artifacts registered
A comprehensive inventory of Afghan cultural treasures will be compiled by end-2008.

Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to stop the illegal removal of cultural material and to restore damaged monuments and artifacts by end-2010.

Supported Afghanistan’s cultural Aspects/Heritage
a) Increased presence on and security of archaeological sites;
b) Public awareness campaign; and professional training (police, army, custom);
c) Consolidation and restoration of damaged monuments/sites, with priority to emergency rehabilitation of Minarets of Jam, Bamyan and Herat;
d) Inventory of country-wide needs; (sites)
e) Creation of supportive environment for protection and promotion of cultural heritage;
f) International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding of Afghanistan’ Cultural Heritage to be supported of advocacy and TA for legal protection;
g) Material support to the rehabilitation of museums
h) Recognition of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage as part of the World Cultural Heritage 
i) Scientific interventions to protect Afghanistan’s cultural Heritage
(up to 1386) 1271 archeological sites Promote Afghanistan’s cultural diversity


Provision of Legal framework for free  independent, and responsible  media     Media Law to be passed and implemented by 2008

a) A pilot project to begin inventory of intangible cultural heritage (Music) 1385
b) Media Infrastructure rehabilitation 1385-1386
c) Development of a truly editorially independent public service broadcasting of a high standard educational radio-TV production centre
d) Skills training: Continuous training for journalists, with special emphasis on women journalists, and regional representatives and including training-trainers program and capacity building at faculties of journalism
e) Create an open democratic society based on an informed citizenry
f) Promote Live Culture (Music, Cinema and Arts)
g) To Guarantee respect of cultural rights for all Afghan citizens
  The media will provide an enabling environment for a free and independent media. It will be accessible to Afghan women and men throughout the country, thereby promoting an open and democratic society.



Table II: Action Plan Matrix
Outcomes Activities Targets Timeframe* Responsible Agency
Afghanistan’s cultural Heritage Protected and Preserved
Rehabilitation of Kabul theater, Ministry complex, 20 historical monuments, building for MoIC provinces Dept. libraries in provinces, music institute in Kabul construction of museum in Nangarhar, Bamyan.Catalogue artifacts currently held  A comprehensive inventory of Afghan cultural treasures will be compiled by end-2008.

Measures will be taken to revive the Afghan cultural heritage, to stop the illegal removal of cultural material and to restore damaged monuments and artifacts by end-2010.
2010 MoIC
Support Afghanistan’s cultural Aspects/Heritage
Registration, conservation and restoration of sites and monuments
The MoIC will continue registration and conservation of monuments, repair and preservation of museum, archeology items and historical monuments Promote Afghanistan’s cultural diversity
2010 MoIC
Free and independent media Development of a truly editorially independent public service broadcasting of a high standard educational radio-TV production centre,

Renovation of the existing Radio Studios equipments
A Media Legislation will be passed through Parliament. The media will be protected as independent, pluralistic and accessible to Afghan women and men throughout the country, thereby promoting an open and democratic society.
2008 MoIC
Empowerment of Youth Promoting non-formal education, increasing awareness and developing skills (literacy, leadership, strategic planning, conflict resolution, peace-building, etc.) in young people so to provide better quality of life and livelihood opportunities.

Engaging youth in governance, development and social-political processes at local, district, municipal, provincial and national level, ensuring the participation of young women and men in democracy and advocacy.

Promoting voluntary efforts for peace and development and establishing a youth volunteer corps for Afghanistan.
  2006-2010 MoIC (Youth Affairs Deputy Ministry)