Non-government group SMART (Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation) invites everyone to the 5th Edition of The Radio Festival (TRF), a first-of-its-kind platform to celebrate sound. TRF brings together all three tiers of radio in India – public, private, and community radio – along with podcasters and others invested in the audio space. Former IAWRT Board member from India Archana Kapoor is the founder and director of SMART.

Titled ‘The Radio Fair: SDGs on the Air’, the 5th edition is being organized by SMART in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GoI, Prasar Bharti, and UNESCO, with support of UNICEF, UNHCR, ONGC, and FNF. This year, SMART is also launching ‘The Active Citizenship Festival’ – a unique experiential event for the youth.

TRF is celebrated every year to mark World Radio Day in February and has had 4 successful editions. Onaccount of the spread of Omicron earlier this year, this year it is being organised to coincide with National Broadcasting Day.

Along with opportunities for invigorating conversations with multi-stakeholders, this edition also offers a range of games and simulations, workshops and panel discussions, that aim to increase civic participation, strengthen ownership of SDGs and build sustainable partnerships. 

July 25, 2022 @10 am, at the India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, to celebrate National Broadcasting Day

Soulful Sufi music performance by Bilal Chishty of Coke Studio fame @6 pm.

Following the upheaval in Afghanistan on 15 August 2021 and the rise of the Islamic Emirate, the situation of journalists and the media in the country came to a halt and unimaginable restrictions were imposed on them. Afghanistan’s media outlets are on the brink of a meltdown as they face shortage of funding following the takeover. According to a survey conducted by Reporters without Borders (RSF) in December 2021, there were 10,790 people working in Afghan media (8,290 men and 2,490 women) at the start of August 2021, but only 4,360 (3,950 men and 410 women) were still working and the number may reduce even further.

As women disappear from the public sphere, Afghan women journalists are vanishing at a rapid pace. Of the total number of women journalists in 2020, only 5% live and work in Kabul since the de facto authorities took back the political power. In August 2021, the Taliban movement, took control of Afghanistan. This power shift followed a major escalation, as the de facto authorities’ control of the country led international donors to immediately suspend most development funding and freeze billions of dollars’ worth of assets.

IAWRT-Afghanistan was also affected by the unexpected political transformation in Afghanistan. The top management of IWART-Afghanistan chapter including the head of the chapter, its board members consist of senior journalists and women rights activists and the associated members of the organization left the country to save their lives and get better protection in exile after they received threats to death or were frightened of the uncertain situation at home.

The IAWRT-Afghanistan chapter is supposed to temporary operate in exile as most members of the chapter have settled in the states. The temporary operation of IAWRT-Afghanistan chapter will continue until situation in Afghanistan is stable and back to normal. There has to be sufficient protection means in place and certain protocols and guarantees from the ruling administration for the chapter to resume its activities in Afghanistan. The evacuation process of IAWRT-Afghanistan members began in late August, 2021 when the head of the chapter and some members were threatening by the Taliban at their residents or at the work places.

Here are some images of the evacuation process:

Finally, they are in the US:

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) expresses alarm at the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the conviction of Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher Rey Santos Jr on trumped-up charges of cyber libel.

Their conviction in 2020 stemmed from a cyber libel case on a Rappler article published on May 29, 2012, almost five months before the cybercrime law was enacted on October 3. The Department of Justice under then-president Rodrigo Duterte, however, ruled that the story had been updated and remained posted as of Feb. 14, 2014, and approved the filing of charges in 2019.

The court also lengthened the jail time to up to six years, eight months and 20 days or an additional eight months in denying Ressa’s appeal.

After the court decision, Ressa and Rappler experienced an “info ops/mob,” as part of the continuing online hate she has received following Rappler’s critical reporting of the former president’s war on drugs and Duterte openly attacking Ressa and Rappler.

The court’s decision comes over a week after the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission issued a revocation order against Rappler, one of the many legal cases and harassment Rappler endured during the term of Duterte. Both disturbing decisions were released between Duterte’s last day in office and the first few days of the new president, son of dictator, and press freedom killer Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The international media watchdog group, Reporters without Borders, has called Duterte a press freedom “predator.”

The recent developments in Ressa and Rappler’s cases add to growing concerns over press freedom in the Philippines.

Marcos Jr.’s win has raised concerns about the future of media in the country, where journalists were barred from interviewing or covering or roughhoused during his campaign sorties. Marcos Jr. refused to join election debates and only allowed interviews from selected media houses to answer selected questions.

Before the term of Duterte’s appointed officials ended with him, the former National Security Adviser ordered the blocking of independent media websites Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly. (Read related statement from IAWRT Philippines here:

Ressa rightly said that the danger that her and Rappler’s experiences pose if you’re a Filipino is that “this could happen to you, too.” And this could happen anywhere in the world where people keep silent as institutions are being used to silence journalists.

IAWRT will continue to support Maria Ressa, Rappler, journalists, and media outfits that continue to pursue the truth but are persecuted for it.

Various groups in Kenya talked on Twitter Spaces on July 7, 2022 to discuss the online violence women journalists are going through as they report on elections. Less than a month before the elections, there has been a surge in online violence against female journalists.

IAWRT Kenya member Cecilia Maundu served as the host/moderator and Toepista Nabusoba served as one of the panelists.

“As journalists, we’re increasingly expected to have an online presence and engage on social media, which puts us at risk of abuse. And now, with Kenya heading toward the elections, odds are high that attacks against journalists—online and off—will escalate. Abusive trolls join forces to send hateful messages, impersonate, hack accounts, and publish sensitive personal information, also known as doxing. Their ultimate goal is to intimidate, discredit, and silence journalists and undermine press freedom,” shared Maundu on the situation that prompted the discussion.

She said that despite this, there are concrete steps each of us can take to protect ourselves and fight back.

“Journalists need to be provided with resources to help protect their digital identities,” added Maundu.

The conversation was held in conjunction with launch of the Pen America Online Harassment Field Manual in Swahili

7th July was also Kiswahili world day and the organizers found this as the ideal day to launch this website.

“As digital security trainers, we have realized that it is important to have more resources in not only English but also in Swahili which is also a national language in Kenya. Not only will it serve the Kenyan community but also countries in the East African region that speak Swahili,” said Maundu.

Radhika Khanna, a member of IAWRT India, has devoted three years to developing an online course on digital photography taught comprehensively through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Photojournalism. She intends to reach out to many learners globally, especially women, with engaging and enriching content.

There are no prerequisites or qualifications required. Learners of any age, young, working or retired, can join for free from any part of the world.

The course features both eminent and young Indian photographers, photo historians and curators, including Avani Rai, Avinash Pasricha, Desikan Krishnan, Dinesh Krishnan, Gopinath Sricandane, Gurinder Osan, Madhuraj, Navroze Contractor, Nimit Nigam, Poochi Venkat, Prashant Panjiar, Raghu Rai, Prof. Sabeena Gadihoke, Sanjay Prasad Ganguly, Saravanan Janakarajan, Saumya Khandelwal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Shantanu Krishnan, SR Raghunathan, Tanvi Mishra and Vicky Roy. 

Available on the government of India’s free e-learning portal, SWAYAM, it is a free online course organised by Pondicherry University, India, where Radhika teaches. The course is a great way for photography enthusiasts to stay in touch with their craft and absorb insights from the masters.

The course preview link has a short introductory video and information on the course content.

 To join, click on:

Course starts on July 18 and ends on October 31 this year. Enrolment ends on August 31, 2022.

You can send your questions for the directors and Chandita Mukherjee, the producer.

The link to watch the film will be shared on on 15th July noon. You can post your questions on Facebook or write to [email protected] by 17th July midnight.

‘Displacement and Resilience’: women live for a new day

This documentary film on women refugees is the outcome of collaboration between women documentary filmmakers from Philippines, Tunisia, Canada and India. It features stories about conflict, migration and the experience of exile. The film shows not only traumatic experiences, but also the resilience of women forced to flee from their countries and to take shelter in unknown lands. It also shows internally displaced women who remain in their own country, but whose lives are dislocated by the actions of the powerful. This is a gist of the five themes explored in this film, however the narrative flow of the film has a different structure.

Theme 1: Homeless in one’s own homeland, on forcible internal displacement in the Philippines, directed by Erika Rae Cruz. This story shows the predicament faced by indigenous people in many parts of the world. When natural resources are found or land for other profitable projects is identified in their areas, powerful interests start moving to grab these assets, by-passing laws protecting indigenous people and their environments. Governments oust people from their traditional homelands, to build “development” projects, to benefit global mining and agricultural corporations and to condemn the indigenous people to become refugees in their own country.

The protagonists are two articulate women chieftains of Mindanao, Bai Bibyaon of the Lumad community and Bai Ellen of the Matigsalug. Military force was used to force their communities to migrate. The people are reduced to camping in temporary shelters, building their shacks from found materials. Cut off from the environment they know and with a lack of alternative means of livelihood at the places where they squat, they have become impoverished. An intense climate of repression also creates a continuous state of tension and the future is uncertain. However, their morale is strong and the people are organised despite the attempts to terrorise them and to break their unity.

Theme 2: When identity becomes politics. This story is set in Dharamshala, the major centre of Tibetan refugees in India and is directed by Afrah Shafiq. Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari, an elected member of the parliament of the Tibetan government-in-exile is the main protagonist in this segment. She and her colleagues in the Gu Chu Sum Association work to make the world aware of the struggles within Tibet and the human rights violations against Tibetan prisoners of conscience.

Back in their homeland, their language is banned, their script declared illegal and people can be arrested for speaking or teaching it or circulating print material in Tibetan. Here Tibetan refugees have determinedly kept their language and sense of nationhood alive.

With Chinese policy working toward erasure of their culture, the ultimate form of repression, the endurance of the Tibetan refugees, holding strongly to their focus of regaining their country is unprecedented, and the film gives us an intimate view of their life in exile. They are organised in exile, and ever-poised to negotiate a return to their homeland.

Theme 3: Pushed into a corner to die, on ethnic discrimination and genocide directed by Archana Kapoor and Chandita Mukherjee. After over a millennium of co-existence, present-day Myanmar law does not recognise the Rohingya ethnic minority as an indigenous community. Mostly confined to Rakhine state, the Rohingyas are denied freedom of movement, access to state education and entry to civil service jobs by law. Their status has been compared to that of non-whites under apartheid.

Beginning with a trickle, the exodus of the Rohingyas reached huge numbers after August 2017 when systematic armed attacks were carried out on them and their properties. When the terror was unleashed, Rohingyas ran for shelter to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and several others. The governments of these countries just about tolerate them as refugees, but fence them into camps, and refuse to accept them as immigrants. They try to bring international pressure on Myanmar to take the Rohingyas back, which seems almost impossible at present.

Several of the Rohingyas met during the course of filming said they wanted to go back to their own country. What is their future, a stateless people denied citizenship in their own land? Set in Rohingya encampments in the state of Haryana in India, this segment brings us women’s accounts of their escape from violence at the hands of the Myanmar Army and the betrayal by families who sell their daughters into sex slavery during such stressful times.

In this segment we also get a glimpse of the massive humanitarian activities of the UNHCR, not only with the Rohingyas, but also other refugee populations elsewhere. Sumbul Rizvi, the Senior Coordinator, Inter Sector Coordination Group, of the United Nations, based at Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where some 920,000 refugees are camped, gives an articulate explanation of the Rohingya situation.

Theme 4: Forced to move due to wars of others, on people becoming refugees for reasons they cannot relate to their own lives. Syrian refugees have fled from their country since the onset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 and have sought asylum in other parts of the world. The crisis has created a Syrian diaspora spread across the countries around the Mediterranean Sea and further into Europe and North America. The Syrian crisis and the proxy war behind it, has disrupted the lives of millions and turned thriving cities and villages to ruins. From an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, in 2016 the United Nations identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance. Over the course of the war, a number of peace initiatives have been launched, but fighting continues.

The protagonist of this story is Haifa, a woman from Ghouta and her extended family – children, parents, siblings and their children. When the war got too close to remain in Ghouta, they escaped the war on a ship and found refuge in Tunisia. Shortly before they left, her husband was called out of his home by unknown persons and has not been heard of again. She tried very hard, but could not get to the truth behind his disappearance. In Tunisia she works as a part-time domestic help at several households, cooking and cleaning all day long, and returning to do the same in her own home. She leads a very difficult and precarious existence. We get a close view of her struggle with depression and her effort to focus on her children’s education, and to bravely dream of a future, where her husband may even be found alive.

Theme 5: What happens after the leap across the abyss? How do displaced women adapt to societies very different from theirs? In their countries of origin, there was no requirement to go out and mingle with outsiders. their homes were their focus. However, having migrated, how do they create meaningful interactions with local people, acquire new skills, learn to make a living and build new lives? Set in Vancouver, Canada, this segment on Syrians in Canada is directed by Eva Anandi Brownstein.

After a local Arabic-speaking woman took the initiative, they started a food collective called Tayybeh, which specialises in Syrian regional cuisines. They reach out to the local community through their cooking and catering services, and are seen at a variety of venues – a dinner attended by leading citizens of the city, a small church dinner and they also run a food truck. In the process, they contribute to the cultural diversity of the area, gain new skills and develop the economic strengths needed to run a business. They hope to learn English and educate their children and look forward to re-uniting with their loved ones, scattered in distant places around the globe. They dream of returning to Aleppo, Latakia and the other beloved places left behind.

See event on Facebook here.

IAWRT PH Stands with the Independent Media

This is appalling. Yet, if this is meant to send shock waves to the independent media, malign and silence them, goodness, the intent is failing.

National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. has ordered the immediate blocking of independent media websites such as and on the basis of an opinion that these outfits are terrorist-affiliated or supporting terrorist organizations.

Plain and simple, red-tagging is media repression.

Independent media, also known as alternative media, have always stood their ground and even complement the dominant media in bringing information to the public to make informed decisions. Operating for service and not for profit, they are fearless in raising controversial issues and hold government leaders accountable for their actions.

Hence it is not surprising that they are often at odds with government officials. But the recent blocking is carrying red-tagging to another level of recklessness and irresponsibility that brutally attacks press freedom and the right of the public to know.

As expected, and did not take this sitting down and immediately denounced this act despite threats to their profession and their security, even.

Likewise, this recent attempt at muzzling the independent press, carried out in blitzkrieg fashion, has only resulted in media people holding each other’s back in defense of press freedom and gaining broader support from the public.

In this regard, the Philippine chapter of IAWRT (International Association of Women in Radio and Television) stands solidly behind, and in solidarity, with the independent media. It also calls on Secretary Esperon to rescind his order.#

[Several IAWRT Philippines members work with Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.]

By Afrah Shafiq

July 10, 2022

Since early 2020, I had been working on a research project as part of a field research fellowship with the Garage Institute of Contemporary Arts in Moscow, around Soviet Children’s Literature that was popular in India during the Cold War years. Apart from researching the contexts within which this cultural exchange took place, I had also been archiving some of these beautifully illustrated children’s books that were in circulation through a sub culture of collectors.

Using the materials and insights from my research, I wanted to make an interactive quest game that both allows the viewer to navigate through and enjoy this wealth of material, but also look at it through a newer lens.

I began to sift through my research material, marking out themes, characters, moments in history, testimonies, aesthetic and political movements and so on that I wanted to include in my work. I also knew I wanted to write in a fiction story that would bring these themes together in a seamless and engaging way. After months of working on this alone, and beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of material I had, I managed to get some support and structure through a writing mentorship program called ‘Narrative Shift’ with the graphic novelist Amruta Patil where I wrote the first draft for my script.

However, draft 1 was like any first draft – just a blueprint and a necessary first step. It wasn’t something I could translate into a finished work, as it was too textual and didn’t have any structure and form. It was at this stage that I enrolled for the IAWRT mentorship program where I requested for the mentorship of either one of two members (Alka Hingorani/Nina Sabnani) who I believed would be valuable advisors on a project like this. Amazingly, despite having extremely busy and demanding professional lives, both Alka and Nina agreed to come on board as mentors and we decided to break down the sessions into two phases. The first phase would be with Alka, where she would help me strengthen the script, story and conceptual approach, and the second phase would be with Nina where the focus of the mentorship would be more on the animation and visual treatment.

Once Alka read through my existing first draft, I had a series of one on one sessions with her on zoom, between which she also reviewed a newer version of the script. My sessions with her were simply superb! Her knowledge of the different traditions of storytelling, her analogies from films to oral forms and her responses to my various half-baked ideas really helped me develop links and flesh out what my story would look and feel like. At the end of these sessions I felt ready to start translating my script into a tangible form.

At this stage I worked on a visual road map for the story ahead and a few directions of treatment for the animation and design. Luckily, Nina happened to be visiting my city at the time and we managed to have a long marathon session in person where I could take her through the script and the story material. Nina nudged me to think about why I was calling my work a “game” and what that meant, encouraged me use the strength of the archival material I had gathered, helped me find the most perfect animator to work along with me on the project as well as warned me about the unrealistic production plan I had drawn out.

I am now exactly half way done with my production, I am enjoying the way it is coming together and I know it would certainly not look and flow the way it does without the mentorship of both Alka and Nina so I am very very grateful for having the chance to learn from them. #

Afrah Shafiq is a member of the IAWRT India Chapter

By Tchonko Becky Bissong

The Cameroon chapter of IAWRT regrets to announce the  death of one of the architects and active members of IAWRT Cameroon, BABENI LEONTINE SUZANNE, fondly called Babel la Belle. She passed away early Monday, 4 July 2022.

She started the Cameroon chapter with Madeleine Memb. She worked with the Proximity Station of the Capital City, Yaounde FM 94. She was a promoter of culture and fine arts through a festival which had become annual event for 12 years now, FESCARY festival for the promotion of  fine arts and caricature. Reports say she died from acute malaria.  We shall keep you updated on the burial arrangements.