India and Afghanistan for capacity building

In a major initiative to boost cooperation in critical sectors of Information & Broadcasting, India and Afghanistan  signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for capacity building on 24th May, 2011. The MoU was signed between Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Ambika Soni and Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, Minister of Information & Culture, Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

This initiative would provide a platform for development of media policies and strategies between the two countries. It would also enable the Government of Afghanistan to incorporate learnings of key policy initiatives taken by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry related to digitalization, self regulation,  content management, innovative programming with regard to outreach programmes at the grass roots.

The MoU signed between the two countries covers a wide range of issues. Prominent being policy and strategy development, project management, financial management and procurement processes. The focus of the  MoU is on capacity development covering critical areas which are as follows:

·           Development of media policies and strategies.
·           Development of independent and free press in Afghanistan.
·          Identification of areas of reforms and restructuring in the field of press and media and implementation thereof.
·           Development and standardization of media related programmes, graphic designing, production of documentaries and films and other related areas.
·          Production and broadcasting activities of Radio and Television of Afghanistan (RTA) including content management.
·          Marketing of TV and Radio programmes for revenue generation.

Another key aspect of the  MoU relates to the provision of Advisory services for supporting policy and strategy development and  system improvement in Afghanistan. This would entail training of Afghan Civil Servants at relevant institutes in India and exposure visits. It would also entail on-job practical training and assisting and establishing training institutes in Afghanistan. As part of the  MoU it is also envisaged to exchange publications and research material for capacity development in technical areas.

The  MoU has been signed in the backdrop of a range of activities conducted in Afghanistan in critical areas of Information & Broadcasting by the Ministry. These include:
Training by Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) to various Afghan Journalists. Annually IIMC is training several Afghan journalists sent by the Indian Embassy Kabul. India in the recent past has helped build the full fledged Radio And Television Afghanistan (RTA) Statuibs at Jalalabad Afghanistan.  As part of the capacity building technical process, India is also providing satellite up-linking facilities for the state owned television RTA.  BECIL representatives in Afghanistan have earlier helped on various projects to RTA.  A process has also been initiated to facilitate the flow of films from India into Afghanistan.

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