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Survey Shows Radio Free Afghanistan Most Popular International Broadcaster

(Washington, DC–December 1, 2005) More than three quarters of Afghan radio listeners are tuning in to Radio Free Afghanistan, according to the results of a new survey commissioned for RFE/RL by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

The survey showed a nationwide weekly listening rate of 75.3 percent to RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan broadcasts in Dari and Pashto — the highest unduplicated listening rate from among all international radio/television broadcasters operating in Afghanistan, including the BBC.

“The people of Afghanistan are demonstrating that our broadcasts are important to them, indeed these broadcasts serve as a guidepost for that nation’s future.” said BBG chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson.

RFE/RL Acting President Jeffrey N. Trimble noted especially Radio Free Afghanistan’s reputation for objectivity, professionalism and its attention to overcoming ethnic differences: “Radio Free Afghanistan has played a vital role in informing, enlightening and educating listeners, especially during the preparations for the September 2005 parliamentary election. The outstanding audience numbers demonstrate that, over the past four years, listeners have come to trust and rely on Radio Free Afghanistan to tell it like it is.”

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan and the Voice of America’s (VOA) Dari and Pashto Services broadcast on a 24-hour single stream in Afghanistan, which VOA supplements with television broadcasts. Radio Free Afghanistan provides local news, while VOA supplies news about events around the world. The U.S. Congress appropriated funding to create Radio Free Afghanistan in December 2001, as part of an effort to build a peaceful and democratic Afghanistan following the successful U.S.-led strike against the Taliban.

InterMedia Survey Institute supervised the survey for the BBG from August 31 to September 15, 2005, interviewing 2,038 adults 15 and older in 31 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces (no research was conducted in Zabul, Nimruz and Nurestan provinces). The margin of error is plus/minus 2.2 percent.