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Many independent media outlets are hampered by a lack of revenue.
Publishers and media owners tend to dictate editorial policy based on political and economic affiliations, which, together with the employment insecurity journalists face, nurtures a culture of self-censorship.
In one of several cases, two reporters working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty were arrested in July by intelligence services in Konar province and were detained for a week without charge.
Many practice self-censorship or avoid writing about sensitive issues such as Islam, national unity, or crimes committed by specific warlords.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V Y Z LE=Legal Environment PE=Political Environment EE=Economic Environment Afghanistan Not Free LE: 21 PE: 28 EE: 20 Total Score: 69 The environment for Afghanistan's fledgling media worsened slightly in 2005 as journalists faced an increase in attacks and legal harassment during the year.
The media played a prominent role in at least two new incidents that proved embarrassing to the government.
In March, the Tirana-based television station Alsat broadcast a gaffe in which Foreign Minister Besnik Mustafaj predicted further regional border changes if Kosovo were partitioned between Serbs and ethnic Albanians.
Religious conservatives also targeted the progressive Tolo TV, which had been criticized by clerics for airing programs that "oppose Islam and national values." In May, a popular female television presenter who had worked at Tolo was murdered, possibly by family members who did not approve job, and other program hosts received threats or were forced off the air, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Although registration requirements remain in place, authorities have granted more than 250 publications licenses, and several dozen private radio stations and eight television stations are now broadcasting, with the expansion of independent print and broadcast outlets continuing in 2005.