Afghan journalist Zahra Joya among Time’s women of the year | Afghanistan
Afghan journalist Zahra Joya has been named one of Time’s 2022 Women of the Year for her reporting on the lives of women in Afghanistan through her news agency, Rukhshana Media.
Now living as a refugee in the UK, Joya continues to run the all-female media outlet Rukhshana from exile, publishing her team of female journalists from across Afghanistan on the lives of women under the Taliban regime.
Rukhshana Media teamed up with the Guardian on the Women’s Afghanistan reporting series during the Taliban takeover in August 2021, which told the stories of women fleeing their homes as the Taliban advanced and the fate divorced and single mothers, attacks on policewomen and the crushing of protests. Joya has continued to report for the Guardian since being evacuated from Kabul to London.
Joya launched Rukhshana Media in December 2020 with her own money as Afghanistan’s first feminist news agency, aiming to become the first national news source where an Afghan woman from any region could see her own life reflected in the articles published every day.
She and her journalists have faced attacks and death threats because of their reporting on women’s rights, and her team in Afghanistan continues to work in secret.
“Although it was never easy to be a woman and a journalist in Afghanistan, our reporting has now been almost eradicated,” says Joya.
“The Taliban have forced female journalists to wear the hijab, banning them from appearing on screen or in public, or broadcasting their voices on the radio in some provinces, but that makes it even more important that our stories continue to be told.”
Joya was interviewed by Angelina Jolie for Time’s Women of the Year issue, which also featured human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, Olympian Allyson Felix and poet Amanda Gorman.