Zan TV
NetworkZan TV
Language(s)Dari, Pashto
OwnerHamid Samar

Zan TV (Women TV/تلویزیون زن in Dari)[1] is an Afghan television channel that almost exclusively employs women, and offers programming that especially addresses issues relevant to women in Afghanistan.[1] Founded by Hamid Samar, a media entrepreneur, in Kabul in 2017, Zan TV was the first station of its kind in Afghanistan.[2][3][4]


Upon its founding, about half of the women hired for the station were already qualified, and the other half planned to learn on the job. This was because most Afghan media and TV companies would not historically hire women, so they had limited opportunities to develop media skills beforehand. Staff have included Nasrine Nawa, director of news programming, Yasamin Yarmal, host of the daily show,[4] Khalida Rashid, a political reporter,[5] Shabana Noori and Basira Joya, news anchors,[1][6] and Mehria Azali, a journalist and producer of the station's political programming.[7]

Within three months of its founding, Samar reported that the station had 90,000 viewers for its morning programs. As written in the Guardian upon its founding, "It’s a radical initiative for a country where the television industry is run solely by men and where just 16 years ago, journalism and even access to education for women were banned."[4] However, some journalists are worried for their safety, and some face criticism from their families and communities.[1]

In 2019, Zan TV reporter Najwa Alimi received the Per Anger Prize, an award instituted by the Government of Sweden and awarded to human rights defenders.[8]

Canadian filmmaker Brishkay Ahmed profiled the station and its staff in the 2021 documentary film In the Rumbling Belly of Motherland.[9]


The station broadcasts news programmes and a variety of other shows, including cookery, entertainment, and discussion shows. In particular, it focuses on topics that are of interest of Afghan millennial women, such as feminism in the context of Islam, reproductive rights,[4] domestic violence,[1] women in the workplace, and family life.[4] Interviews with Afghan female politicians and activists, such as Fareeda Kuchi Balkhi and Selay Ghaffar, are also included.[4] Although the programming includes segments on topics that were banned under the Taliban rule, such as cosmetics and women in sports,[1][4] the stated goal according to Mehria Azali is to work within the framework of Afghan culture and the existing laws.[7]

After 2021

In August 2021, with the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan, Zan TV temporarily suspended broadcasting. Despite the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on women's activities in Afghanistan and on the media, Zan TV continued work, endeavouring to be the voice of Afghan women, under the management of Maryam Naiby and with the support of Hamid Samaris. Presenters were ordered by the government to wear the hijab while on air.[10]

After the 2021 takeover, the Zan Times news portal was created.[11] This concentrated on news stories regarding human-rights violations in the country, especially against women.[12]

In 2024, Zan Times won the ‘Human Rights Media Award’.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jones, Sophia. "A Look Inside the First All-Female TV News Station in Afghanistan". Glamour. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  2. ^ Doucet, Lyse (19 April 2019). "The Afghan women determined not to lose out in Taliban talks". BBC News. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  3. ^ Murray, Jenni (2018). A History of the World in 21 Women: A Personal Selection. ISBN 1786074117.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Inside Zan TV: Afghanistan's first all-female station". the Guardian. 2017-08-07. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Afghanistan's Female Journalists Risk Their Lives to Tell the News". Great Big Story. Archived from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  6. ^ "The Taliban say Afghan female TV anchors must cover their faces on air". KUOW. National Public Radio. Associated Press. 20 May 2022.
  7. ^ a b Ghezali, Sonia (2 June 2017). "Elles prennent leur plume et parlent aux Afghanes" (in French). Radio France Internationale. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  8. ^ "2019: Najwa Alimi". The Living History Forum. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  9. ^ Gail Johnson and Janet Smith, "Film reviews: documentary Ascension gives glimpses into working life in contemporary China, at KDocsFF". Stir, February 18, 2022.
  10. ^ "Taliban say female Afghan TV presenters must cover faces on air". Al Jazeera. 2022-05-22. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  11. ^ "In 'Zan Times', Afghanistan finds a voice in exile". Deutsche Welle Akademie. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  12. ^ "About Us". Zan Times. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  13. ^ Framarz, Fatima (May 1, 2024). "'Zan Times' Media Won the Human Rights Media Award". Kabul Now. Retrieved 2024-05-06.