In Afghanistan, there is no effective national association for journalists and media, although there are associations that call themselves national. The first ever association is the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), which was established in 2004. According to their website, AIJA has the largest number of members among other associations.
The Afghanistan Independent Radio Association (AIRA) is another association which is a network of more than 70 radio stations. AIRA members are located almost all over Afghanistan. AIRA is an umbrella organisation whose members are not united and do not air the same content. These radio stations are located both in cities as well as in rural areas, where most of them are based. According to the AIRA itself, their members are present almost in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan. Considering that there are 196 radio stations across the country, the coverage portion of AIRA members could be less than 50% of all the population.
A group of women journalists also started the process of creating an association, which is currently just an entity registered on paper, with no activity yet. There are also regional associations which are more active. The South Asia Free Media Association - Afghanistan is working in the country since 2008.
According to Afghan laws, the media sector can have associations and unions. But there is no clear line for distinguishing between an association and a union. Thus no association is performing the way it should perform. Furthermore, due to sustainability challenges, associations are competing with each other to receive funds.
Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, functions as an association as well as a union and an advocacy and training organisation.
Furthermore, recently more than 10 big media houses got together structured a consortium to advocate on behalf of media owners for the betterment of their situations. The structure is still not registered with any Afghan government entities but has its sessions and gatherings.