CoST Afghanistan begins media engagement campaign to empower citizens to demand better infrastructure 

Over the last two decades, civil society organisations and the media in Afghanistan have played a key role in raising public awareness on corruption, as can be evidenced by the implementation of Afghanistan’s Access to information Law in 2014 and a dramatic increase in the number of civil society actors now operating in the country. Despite this, reporting on corruption in public infrastructure has been limited due to a lack of technical knowledge on the complexities of infrastructure procurement. In February CoST Afghanistan facilitated an expert-led workshop as part of its efforts to address this. 

Participants at the CoST Afghanistan media trainingThe workshop, held on 6 February, brought together 40 attendees including civil society and media from key influential press, TV and radio media outlets such as Rahe Farda TV, Kabul Press Newspaper and Afghanistan's influential national print paper - 8 Sobh. The fact that the workshop convened participants is a significant feat considering the security threat facing civil society in Afghanistan. 

Welcoming participants, Minister of Economy and Chair of CoST Afghanistan’s Multi-Stakeholder Group, Dr Mustafa Mastoor emphasised their importance to ensuring better quality infrastructure:  

“Civil society and the media are one of three core CoST stakeholders who further transparency in public infrastructure projects. They play a huge role in supporting the transparency process – helping to bring key issues into the public domain so that decision makers are held accountable in delivering the best results possible for citizens.” 

The workshop focused on three key themes: the state of corruption in infrastructure, the role reporting can play and how CoST tools can be used to demand more from publicly funded infrastructure projects. The most substantive session focused on access to information where expert speakers gave guidance on making requests and overcoming common challenges such as information being insufficient and shared late. 

In feedback gathered by CoST Afghanistan, participants outlined that workshops such as these could improve their understanding about the infrastructure sector and were extremely helpful to helping them advocate for transparency in the future. 

Representing Rahe Farda Radio and TV, one participant emphasised the need for such reporting: “The public has a right to know about infrastructure expenditure. With increased access to information, corruption will decrease."  The reporter went onto highlight the need for similar training in other provinces of Afghanistan to increase media knowledge and citizenship engagement on a national level.  

Media coverage from the event 

Event Bu - CoST Afghanistan informative workshop for CSOs and the media
Bakhtar News - CoST holds workshop for media and civil society organizations  
Afghan Justice – CoST civil society and media informative workshop 
Date Published: 23 March 2018
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