Press freedom was unique during Amanullah Khan era: Dr. Raheen

By: Suraya Raiszada

During the reign of King Amanullah Khan, press had properly grown in Afghanistan and dozens of publications came out in the capital and provinces and the ground was paved for activites of free press in the country.
On the occasion of 100th Independence Anniversary of Afghanistan and course of press and role of penmen during the reign of Ghazi Amanullah Khan, The Kabul Times reporter has made the following exclusive interview with former Minister of Information and Culture and one of the elite culturists, Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen.
KT: Based on your experiences from the eras, particularly the reign of King Amanullah Khan, how was the course of press in that time?
Raheen: Initially, let me to congratulate 100th Independence Anniversary of Afghanistan to you the media men and women and then to Pan Afghan people. I should say that Afghanistan independence has not been gained simply, but in 1919 an important event happened in the region and east territories and under the leadership and firm determination of young King Amanullah, Afghanistan was the only and first country in the orient who managed to defeat Britain and achieve independence. Achieving of independence meant that Afghanistan would no longer be under the domination of Britain in its foreign policy but would be an independent country like other nations of the world and arrange its national life.
Talking on the effectiveness of independence on all sectors, specially press, Dr. Raheen said: Afghanistan independence had left many impacts on ideas of colonized nations and revived spirit of freedom fighting among people of those countries and eyes of all nations had been pinned to Afghanistan. Either in India or in Bukhara Emirate who had just shortly before were rescued from dependence to Czarist Russia, all these nations strongly admired the young King of Afghanistan and expected his companionship with their national liberation movements. The Afghan King not only inside but also outside the country made indefatigable efforts to introduce reforms and implement progress and freedom of dependent countries.
Ten years kingdom of Ghazi Amanullah Khan after gaining of independence were ten years of gloriousness, pride, arrogance and believe in a bright future. He managed to enter middle ages hit Afghanistan into a new world and introduce signs of today’s civilizations including media and freedom of expression and invited large number of progressive and modernist writers and poems who took part with their pens and steps in Amani movement. Aman-e-Afghan was the only State-run magazine that was published. The King had tried all affairs be administered in accordance to law.
In that time regulations were published in different fields. Anis was a non-government newspaper which was founded by a young man Ghulam Mahiuddin Anis in Kabul and had been serving many years of development and progress.
During Amanullah Khan era, Afghanistan press had managed to find its position among cultural professionals and the people and there was no restriction ahead of press family. All writers and penmen had free hand and their articles had been published without censor. Family of Tarzi played key role beside King Amanullah in all modernization spheres particularly press and media, because this family was too close to royal family of King Amanullah.


Queen Soraya, the wife of the King was daughter of Mahmood Tarzi while his second daughter Khyria was the wife of Enayatullah Khan. Both those ladies had performed important services from launching of Mastoorat hospital to publications.
According to Dr. Raheen, the reign of King Amanullah Khan was the era of press freedom and freedom of expression and the system was heading towards constitutionalism because the king had believed it. The King was deeply involved in serving the Afghan people and had been using experiences of developed countries for progress of Afghanistan.
Touching the King’s tour of Europe, Dr. Raheen said, despite of his sincere efforts for improvement of Afghanistan, unfortunately he was faced with plots and conspiracy. As a result not only, the progressive King failed to achieve his lofty objectives for progress of Afghanistan and prosperity of his people but Afghanistan also entered a dark stage that left behind unpleasant consequences for many years.
Dr. Raheen added, there was no restriction ahead of media and press. The king censored nothing. A number of newspapers were established in some provinces including Etehad in Khanabad Etehad-e-Mashreqi in Jalalabad, Tolo-ye-Afghan in Kandahar. A real and actual movement was started for sharing of information to public. Dr. Raheen believes that due to hasty steps and plots of enemies, Amani system collapsed but its historical memories are still alive and every year, we celebrate independence anniversary.

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