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Bobby Ghosh

Will Afghanistan’s Media Survive Under the Taliban?

A conversation with Afghan-Australian entrepreneur Saad Mohseni on launching the country’s first independent broadcaster 20 years ago — and why keeping it in business is more vital than ever. 

Saad Mohseni, founder and CEO, Moby Group

Saad Mohseni, founder and CEO, Moby Group

Photo courtesy Moby Group

This is one of a series of interviews by Bloomberg Opinion columnists on how to solve the world’s most pressing policy challenges. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Bobby Ghosh: You’re the Dubai-based founder and CEO of the Moby Group, which launched Afghanistan’s first independent radio and TV networks after the fall of the Taliban in 2002. Twenty years later, the return of the Taliban has put the future of the country’s media in jeopardy. Your company’s networks, including the wildly popular TOLO TV and TOLOnews, have remained on the air, covering the new government despite considerable risks to your journalists.

Before we discuss the challenges you’re currently facing, let’s go back to the start. It’s 22 years ago and the Taliban is about to fall in Kabul. Where’s your head at this moment? What are you thinking? What makes you want to go to Afghanistan and launch a television channel?