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Afghanistan: Bookstore owners, publishing houses express concern over lack of book markets

ANI | Updated: Nov 24, 2023 21:02 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], November 24 (ANI): Bookstore owners and publishing houses have expressed concern over the lack of book markets in Afghanistan and said that they have lost 50 per cent of their customers in over two years, Afghanistan-based TOLO News reported.
The officials of these publishing houses and bookstores said that currently, the market for the sale of books has witnessed a decline and they are facing economic challenges.
Zaki Ahmadi, head of a publishing house, said, "We have been working in book sales, publishing, and distribution for about 18 years. Currently, the economic situation of the people has the greatest impact on the book sales."
Another bookseller Azizullah stressed that the business has now "diminished." He said, "Business used to be very good, now it is not, now it is very diminished. Our economy is very damaged."
Publishers Union in Kabul said that about 180 publishers, 550 bookstores and 150 printing presses that currently operate in Afghanistan are facing economic challenges. Some publishing houses and bookstores have raised complaints regarding economic problems and a decline in their sales, TOLO News reported.
Abdul Wadood Mukhtarzada, the head of the Publishers Union in Kabul, said that they are working in coordination with the Ministry of Information and Culture to set up a commission to address the problems of publishers and booksellers.

"The Administrative Office created a commission in the Ministry of Information and Culture through the Prime Minister's Office. In support of the publishers, the commission has made efforts to categorize the publisher's problems," TOLO News quoted Abdul Wadood Mukhtarzada.
Meanwhile, students called economic problems one of the factors that weaken the culture of reading and purchasing books. Eman Haidari, a student said, "Student interest in book reading culture is not good these days," according to TOLO News report.
Meanwhile, at least 52 per cent of visual media outlets have ceased operations in Afghanistan over the past two years, Afghanistan-based Khaama Press reported. The Media Support for Afghanistan's Free Media (NAI) announced on Tuesday, coinciding with World Television Day, highlighting that more than half of the visual media outlets in the country have remained inactive.
The NAI has expressed its deep concern about the state of media, especially visual media, and has called for the support of national and international institutions in addressing the media crisis, Khaama Press reported.
After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, press freedom in the country has taken a backseat, with several restrictions put into place for journalists.
Moreover, according to local media reports, after the political change in the country, 94 per cent of women journalists have become unemployed due to restrictions on their work, Khaama Press reported.
Meanwhile, according to a survey undertaken by the NAI, at least 77 television stations out of 147 visual media outlets have suspended operations owing to "economic challenges." (ANI)