hen his newspaper dropped its third huge exclusive of the year, proving that Afghan government officials had tried to discriminate against ethnic minorities, Zaki Daryabi did not immediately worry about retaliation. His first concern was how to pay his staff.
Etilaat Roz, or Daily Information, punches above its weight. From a modest apartment office, Kabul’s smallest newspaper has rattled the establishment with a string of scoops, exposing government nepotism and corruption.
Eschewing the support from politicians and power brokers that most Afghan newspapers rely upon has ensured the paper editorial autonomy. But in a country with minuscule newspaper sales, the downside of such independence is a business that is permanently on the brink of bankruptcy.
“We never know if we’ll still be operating in three months,” said Daryabi, 29, the paper’s editor-in-chief.
Despite a tenfold budget increase over the past two years, the paper struggles to keep up with its own ambitions and sustain 20 staff including designers and a cook. When the Guardian visited, the work day had got off to a slow start because of a lengthy power cut. In front of blackened laptop screens, a handful of reporters swiped their smart phones for news.