Exhibition: Life Through the Afghan Lens

Photos of daily life in Afghanistan is the theme for a new exhibition in the UN, whereby Norway pays tribute to the work of female and male media workers.

The exhibition “Life through an Afghan lens” is featuring photos by Afghan photographers of everyday life in Afghanistan between 2013 and the spring of 2021.

The photos portray fundamental freedoms which are essential for the lives and futures of all Afghans, but they also represent the freedoms photographers, journalists and other media workers who aim to tell the stories of Afghanistan depend upon - including freedom of movement, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression.

“The restrictions we are currently seeing on the lives and freedoms of the Afghan people will - if not swiftly reversed - define the future for generations of Afghans. Not only the futures of women and girls, but all families, all communities and in truth all of Afghanistan,” said the Ambassador of Norway to the UN, Mona Juul.

Independent journalism in Afghanistan is under threat. Afghan journalists are facing pressure and censorship by the Taliban. Female journalists and media workers are in many provinces not allowed to return to work. Many media workers have left the country of safety reasons. Some have been directly targeted; injured and even killed. Also, several media platforms have closed due to the looming economic crisis. In totality, freedom of the press and freedom of expression are in imminent danger in Afghanistan.

Norway supports organisations like Norwegian PEN and International Media Support, and OsloMet, in providing emergency support and safe houses to journalists and writers at risk in Afghanistan and assist those who have had to leave the country to be able to continue their work in exile.

“On this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the Mission of Norway to the UN pays tribute to brave journalists, photographers and media workers in Afghanistan and across the world, who face challenges to their work, including digital threats,” Juul said.

Norway has supported the Afghan people for several decades through humanitarian and development assistance and support for human rights and civil society. As an elected member of the Security Council 2021-2022, Norway has taken on the role to lead the Council’s work on Afghanistan.

The exhibition opens on the World Press Freedom Day 3 May and will be up for 2 weeks along the curved wall in the UN Conference building.

The exhibition displays a selection of photos from the photo competition “Where there is war there is still life”, that was conducted in partnership with the Afghan Photographers Association (APA) and supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Journalism and Media International Center at Oslo Metropolitan University, the Afghanistan Office of United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Fritt Ord Foundation.


Here is a selection of the photos featured in the exhbition. For the full exhibition visit us here.

UNHQ Conference Building
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