Joya, Zahra Mrs.
|Joya, Zahra Mrs.
|Date of birth
|Journalist and Founder Rukhshana Media
|History and Biodata
2. Previous Function:
Joya worked as the deputy director of communications at the Kabul municipal government. At times, she was the only female amongst her colleagues. When she remarked this, she was told that women wouldn't have good capacity or skills needed for the job.
In December 2020, she founded Rukhshana Media, the country's first feminist news agency.She had been motivated to do so after a friend's suggestion, and due to the responses of her male colleagues regarding the lack of female journalists. The outlet was named Rukhshana to honor a 19-year-old girl who was stoned to death by the Taliban in 2015 in Ghor Province. The girl was sentenced to death for having eloped with a lover after her family had arranged a marriage for her. Joya's aim was to bring light to the reality of life for Afghan women with stories published and reported on by local female journalists, covering issues like rape and forced marriage. She established Rukhshana Media with her own savings but had to launch an online fundraiser to keep operations running. She was critical of the Taliban and reported on their crackdown on female public servants in the months before the US and its allies withdrew their troops. A few days before the country fell to the Taliban, she collaborated with The Guardian to publish the Women Report Afghanistan project, reporting on the Taliban takeover. Joya and her colleagues received a number of threats for their journalism.
Due to her reporting and because of the Taliban's longtime persecution of Hazaras, Joya was a target of the Taliban. Fearing for her life, she decided to flee the country. She received an evacuation notice from the British government and was eventually airlifted to London. She continues to run Rukhshana Media in exile, and remains in contact with her team who send her reports from Afghanistan in secret. Most female Afghan journalists were forced to leave their jobs after the takeover.
Joya was airlifted out of Kabul by the UK government in the last frantic and terrifying days of the evacuation, along with other family members. She is living in London.(20210922)