Print is the first media that was established in Afghanistan, almost one and half centuries ago. There are about 175 newspapers across the country, including 25 dailies. But, as previously stated, print media cover only 1 percent of the population, around 300,000 people. Most of the literate people are based in the cities, thus the circulation of print media is mainly urban. Out of 175 operational papers around 100 are based in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The main audiences demand a deep focus on the current situation. Youths are rarely using papers. City dwellers, mainly but not only men who are aged 50+, are literate and have time to read, are the most common members of the audience of papers. By taking a look at the structures of print outlets, the main pattern that emerges is a focus on analysis. The papers are mainly covering current affairs including politics. Sports and literature are also present in most newspapers, along with news reporting.
There are two types of print publications in Afghanistan from a geographical coverage point of view. One type is published in the cities but distributed also to other places. The other type consists of papers that are published and distributed only in a specific city and not elsewhere. It is worth mentioning that there is no paper in Afghanistan with national coverage. Although there are some papers that claim to be national, in practice no paper is distributed all over the country. Dailies are generally printed in a city and distributed to the nearby cities. The only daily that is published simultaneously into 3 cities, is Hasht e Subh (8 AM), which is a private paper that is printed 5 days a week in Kabul, Mazar E Sharif and Herat at the same time. It prints mainly in Persian/Dari language and occasionally features content in Pashto. The main audience is comprised of city-based Persian/Dari speakers.
According to the media law of the country, individuals, the government and private and public entities can be the publisher of a paper. Thus, firms, factories, individuals, companies, the government and political parties are publishing papers in Afghanistan. The government owns 3 dailies in Kabul and almost 35 more papers across the country.
Religion is a part of the content featured in print media, as in all others. There are around ten papers, including one daily, that are owned by religious leaders or entities which are fully focusing on religion. These papers are published mainly, but not only, in Kabul and in Herat and focusing on either Sunni or Shia branches of Islam. But, in the occasion of Eids and other religious celebrations, all papers focus on religion.
There are two languages used in publishing newspapers, Persian (Dari) and Pashto. This means that there are papers that are purely in Persian or in Pashto and there are papers that are in both languages in bilingual cities. A few papers are available in English language for international audiences including embassies and international organisations. Tribal and ethnic councils also own papers, which are mainly used to introduce general issues to their ethnicity or tribes, mainly in the case of small ethnicities and tribes. But for the larger ethnicities, Pashtoons Tajiks, papers at times indirectly address specific tribal issues, even though a paper is not specifically printed for this topic.
It is important to know that most of the major papers are used by specific ethnicities. Hasht e Subh daily is read by Persian/Dari speakers while Weesa daily is read by Pashto speakers, same as Hewad and Anis dailies.