Basira Joya, 20, presents a news program at Zan TV, the first-ever all-woman television channel
Sadhi Khan Saif

KABUL — When a series of terrorist attacks rocked the Afghan capital late last month, killing more than 150, less than a kilometer away from worst blast, a group of women were busy preparing a morning show for the country's only TV station run by women.

Zan TV, or Women's TV, was launched this month, dedicated to women's voices and women's issues.

Since the end of Taliban rule in 2001, Afghanistan has gone from having just one state-owned TV station to 76 stations broadcasting across the country. But despite the proliferation of channels, women are often neglected by the Afghan media. For Basira Joya, a presenter at Zan TV, working at the new station is more than just a job. "We have been repeating slogans that women and men have equal rights, but in reality that's not the case," she said. "Our aim is to amplify the voices of women and girls, so we can make equality a reality."

Zan TV is trying to keep the staff entirely female, but this is no easy feat. Under Taliban rule, women were banned from working. Now women are back in the workplace but are still building up skills and experience, Joya says.

Our aim is to amplify the voices of women and girls, so we can make equality a reality.

"I had no working experience; when I found out that Zan TV was opening up, I was encouraged," Joya said. "My father and mother encouraged me too. My main objective is to be a good presenter and serve my nation in this way."

Salma Rasa, 26, records a program at Zan TV in Kabul - Photo: Rahmat Alizadah via ZUMA

Gender discrimination and harassment are significant barriers for women in the workplace. But Joya is optimistic that Zan TV will create a space for women to thrive.

"Every year thousands of women graduate from journalism faculties, and it is great for women to come and get experience and training here."

For now, 54 out of the 70 staff members are women, with 16 men doing technical jobs. The station will provide technical and editorial training so that women can run all aspects of the programming.

Senior Editor Hosnia Mohaqiq says the response from women has been overwhelming. "Women and girls are increasingly interested to work for Zan TV, it gives them hope and encouragement, and when people with such motivation work, they work very well," she said.

After three months of off-air test transmissions, Zan TV officially started broadcasting on air last Saturday. It already has over 100,000 followers on Facebook.

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Boris Johnson tells France — not so eloquently — to prenez un grip

Bertrand Hauger


-Essay-

PARIS — I'll admit it straight away: As a bilingual journalist, the growing use of Franglais by French politicians makes my skin crawl.

Not because I think this blend of French and English is a bad thing in and of itself (it is!), or because the purity of the French language should be preserved at all costs (it should!) — but because in a serious context, it is — at best — a distraction from the substance at hand. And at worst, well …

But in France, where more and more people speak decent English, Anglo-Saxon terms are creeping in everywhere, and increasingly in the mouths of politicians who think they're being cool or smart.

Not that long ago, Emmanuel Macron was dubbed "the Franglais president" after tweeting "La démocratie est le système le plus bottom up de la terre" ...

Oh mon dieu

They call it Frenglish

It is much rarer when the linguistic invasion goes in the other direction, with far fewer English-speaking elected officials, or their electors, knowing more than a couple of words of French. (The few Brits who use it call it Frenglish)

Imagine then my horror last night watching British Prime Minister Boris Johnson berating France over the recent diplomatic clash surrounding the AUKUS submarine deal, cheekily telling UK media from Washington: "I just think it's time for some of our dearest friends around the world to prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break."

Cringe. Eye roll. Facepalm.
Here's the clip, in case you haven't had your morning cup of awkward.
Grincement de dents. Yeux au ciel. Tête entre les mains.

First, let me offer a quick French lesson: Sorry, BoJo, you needed the "infinitif" form here: "It's time for [us] to prendre un grip about this and me donner un break."

But that, of course (bien sûr), is not the point in this particular moment. Instead, this would-be bon mot is not just sloppy and silly, it is incredibly patronizing, particularly when discussing a multi-billion deal that sparked a deep diplomatic crisis in the Western alliance.

The colorful British politician is, alas, no stranger to verbal miscalculations and linguistic gaffes. He's also (Brexit, anyone?) not necessarily one who cares about preserving relationships with longstanding partners. This time, combining the two, even for such a shameless figure as Mr. Johnson, only one word came to my bilingual brain: Vraiment?

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