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Afghanistan 11 July 2005

Appeal for help in rescuing cash-strapped media and culture NGO

Reporters Without Borders today called on other press freedom groups and all donors present in Afghanistan to help rescue Aina, an Afghan NGO formed in 2001 to support independent news media and cultural expression, which has run out of funding and could be about to fold.

For the past four years, Aina has been training journalists and backing local media development initiatives in a wide range of fields including documentary video, photo-reportage, radio, print media and travelling cinema in the remotest regions. But six of its eight regional cultural and media centres have had to close and only those in Kabul and Kandahar are still open.

Help is badly needed to save the vital projects that Aina has been bravely carrying out since the end of the war, Reporters Without Borders said.

Aina’s problems have affected the media it supports. For example, Kabul Weekly, a newspaper created in 1992 by journalists who supported Commander Massoud, is no longer financially independent and may not survive without Aina’s help.

As Aina is no longer able to provide Kabul Weekly with adequate financial support, Reporters Without Borders has just given it 1,200 dollars, the sum the newspaper has to pay every month in rent.

"It is a small gesture, but we hope it will prime the pump and stimulate other NGOs, news media and even private donors to support Aina and Kabul Weekly," Reporters Without Borders added.

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