Published:  12:30 PM, 20 June 2017

New magazine, TV channel give Afghan women cautious voice

New magazine, TV channel give Afghan women cautious voice

Afghan women are redrawing the media landscape in the deeply conservative country with the launch of a new magazine and a television channel, risking the anger of extremists by giving their gender a glamorous voice. 

The teams behind the two privately-run projects have bold ambitions to use their mass media platforms to change attitudes and inform Afghans of their rights. 

But they know full well the dangers of such trailblazing ventures in a war-torn nation where many still believe that a woman does not belong outside the home. 

"(The) lack of participation of women in life has made this country very violent," said Sandjar Sohail, head of the Hasht press group behind the launch of "Gelara" magazine. 

"I am sure we'll get some reaction, some complaints. We are expecting that," he conceded. 

The glossy monthly run by a team of women in their 20s proclaims itself proudly as "Afghanistan's first fashion magazine". It is also a 100 percent Afghan project. 

Gelara -- "the apple of the eyes" in Farsi, a colloquialism for something beautiful and precious -- contains culture and celebrities, but aims for pedagogy. 

Beauty, cooking, health, literature: the magazine succumbs to feminine tropes, but also dives into issues such as family law reform, which has stalled in the Afghan parliament since 2008. 

"This family law is so unfair for women... once they get married they have no rights. You have to push for women's rights," insists the editor-in-chief, 24-year-old Fatana Hassanazada, who heads a team of 14 young women. 

Gelara's first cover featured singer Mozhdah Jamalzadah, who posed bareheaded, her bold gaze staring directly into the camera.

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