Anisa.Shaheed @AnisaShaheed1

Anisa Shaheed is one of Afghanistan’s prominent journalists. As of recent, reporters in Afghanistan have faced turmoil worse than any other period.  This year, five well-known journalists were killed in a series of targeted attacks and bombings, while others were wounded, threatened, kidnapped, and imprisoned.

 “If there is one hope left for the Afghans, it is the media in Afghanistan,” Shaheed told a news outlet.  “Maybe I will be killed, but I have to work because people expect me to.”  

The 39-year-old Shaheed hasn’t been protected from harm, including death. Her personal values, beliefs, and journalistic oath all serve what she believes is protection against fear of the Taliban.  

Early into her career, Shaheed discovered the benefits of adversity and commitment to the larger community.  “I think that I love what I do too much, and it’s because I want to contribute to freedom of speech and press for my country, Afghanistan. I thought that my work could have a positive impact,” she said during an interview. 

As a Kabul-based journalist, Shaheed started her career as a political reporter and advanced to head of news at the independent TV channel Tolonews. But her passion was field duty, which earned her recognition in 2020.  Reporters honored her for “courageous” reporting.  And she was given the award of journalist of the year by Afghanistan’s Free Speech Hub network in April.

Her conviction for exposing the wrongdoing in Afghanistan seems perplexing, given the Taliban’s message to news media.  “As a result of violence or target killings, we’ve lost 138 journalists over the past years. Of that, 12 were my colleagues. We ate, talked, and worked together in the same place,” she told a reporter.

As a journalist, Shaheed has addressed topics such as the shooting attack on a Kabul hospital in mid-May, and the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Anisa was among 30 international information heroes, including journalists, whistleblowers, and media outlets, who exposed and shed light on important information during the pandemic.

“It took courage for Shaheed…. to simply keep reporting in the field with the fear of infection aggravating the threat of terrorists’ attack,” a spokesman for RSF (Reporter’s sans frontiers) told media members. 

And while many reporters and non-reporters have retracted in the face of dangers in Afghanistan’s political power, Shaheed, who studied at Kabul University, has stood toe-to-toe with them on her quest to fight for the human rights of her people, especially women.

Shaheed works in a male-dominated field where female reporters are often viewed as inferior.  On the surface, being in such a profession and working under those conditions appears daunting and depressing. However, for Shaheed, the sad reality is Afghan women are routinely degraded a message they receive early in life. 

It is not uncommon that they are forced to wear their burqa in public because it is believed that “the face of a woman is a source of corruption.” Some women are not allowed to work or be educated after the age of eight until men grant permission only after girls study the Qur’an. 

From 1996 to 2001, the Sharia law in Afghanistan made life difficult for women; they could not work, girls were banned from attending school, and women had to cover their faces in public. In addition, if many women failed to follow the law, the consequences might be public beatings by the Taliban’s religious police. “The Taliban also carried out public executions, chopped off the hands of thieves, and stoned women accused of adultery.”

But thanks to Shaheed’s work, hopefully continued awareness and positive change will be the new law in Afghanistan.

Author

  • Spicy ray is the founder of the site and has a passion for writing developed in early childhood. His goal as a writer is to provide readers with inspiration, dedication, motivation, and critical thinking skills. He has a solid commitment to allowing writers to share their stories from a variety of backgrounds. He enjoys reading non-fiction, having tarot card readings, going to movies, and watching boxing in his free time.

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Spicy ray is the founder of the site and has a passion for writing developed in early childhood. His goal as a writer is to provide readers with inspiration, dedication, motivation, and critical thinking skills. He has a solid commitment to allowing writers to share their stories from a variety of backgrounds. He enjoys reading non-fiction, having tarot card readings, going to movies, and watching boxing in his free time.

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