When my siblings and I returned from Melbourne to Kabul two decades ago, the media landscape was stripped bare. The Taliban had banned television, radio, and newspapers. Journalists from across the world had descended on Afghanistan to cover the U.S.-led war, but ordinary Afghans had no means by which to know what was happening in a nearby province, let alone the outside world.
We began our journey by setting up a low-powered FM radio station in Kabul. Within three years, with a $500,000 investment (of which $220,000 was a grant from the United States Agency for International Development), we established dozens of media outlets, including Tolo TV, one of Afghanistan’s most popular television channels, which is now seen by millions across the country.