Sajia Kamrany, a controversial public figure based in Los Angeles is the first woman of Afghan heritage to own her own TV channel aired from the US.
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, she moved to America starting off as a TV Host for Omid e Iran and Ariana Afghanistan, to now owning her own TV channel, Afghanistan TV.
She is known to be a weekly commentator on social and political matters concerning Afghans and Afghanistan which tends to create a lot of controversy amongst the Afghan community due to it being hard-hitting at times.
Artefact caught up with her to give a glimpse of her journey, from being an outspoken TV host personality to becoming the first Afghan women to own a TV channel and run it single-handedly.
How did you manage to get into TV & Media?
During 1992, I was interested to have an independent Afghan TV like many other countries. I initiated Afghanistan TV. The audience response was very strong and encouraging and deeply supportive of viewers including Afghans, and Iranian.
You have been a TV host in Omid e Iran and Ariana AFG, hosting your own show, what inspired you to eventually have your own TV channel?
I noticed that I wanted to be independent and not pushed around by owners of other TV stations. I wanted to build my own brand and create a TV network for the people and one that gave other TV personalities an opportunity to express their individual voices. So, I learnt how to operate my own TV network and began to do it.
Your TV channel gets aired from the West. Do you face or receive any negative backlash for being a woman and owning a TV Channel as well as managing it single-handedly?
The Afghan people supported a woman to have her own independent TV programme. There is a small minority who dislike ‘my in-your-face truthful commentaries’ but I have not relented and have continued the journey. I am against the warlords, drug lords, government corruption and dishonesty. I will always stand and fight for the innocent people of Afghanistan.
You are quite outspoken regarding political and social matters mostly concerning Afghans and Afghanistan which has led you to become quite a controversial figure. How has that impacted you and your TV Channel?
In reality, my programme is the most popular and it is popular because I speak the truth with no apologies, I am passionate I speak from the heart I am not censored and have no filter when expressing how I feel and everybody likes that about me and my program. The result is that I have a large following. I am blessed for that.
As an Afghan woman how tough was it to get to the position that you are in today?
I live under US protection. This country allows me the opportunity to feel independent, express my views freely and do what is good for the program and the people. In Afghanistan, it is almost impossible to present a show like mine, especially by a woman. The Mujahid, Taliban are uneducated and ruthless. They create a culture of fear and barbaric violence and don’t allow people to really express themselves without fear of retribution.
How different is it from Afghanistan? Do you think you would have been able to accomplish so much success over there too?
In Afghanistan, it would have been dangerous for me to do what I did for Afghans from the US. However, modern technology allowed me the opportunity to help my people from the U.S. and protect myself. I am grateful for that opportunity.
Have you had to make any sacrifices along the way?
I do not feel like my work has caused me to sacrifice much because helping people has been very rewarding for me. I’ve dedicated the majority of my time to my work. Contributing to Afghan culture through my TV platform has been a blessing to me. The time and energy spent have been worth it.
Who would you credit for all the success you have accomplished as an Afghan woman including obtaining the Lifetime Achievement award for TV & Media given by World Class Entertainment & NowRoz Festival.com?
I give my family a lot of credit for their love, support and encouragement and protection over the years.
What advice would you give women who also want to have their own TV channel and is going to run it single-handedly, particularly Afghan women?
My advice to Afghan women who are wanting to run their own program is to simply just do it and do it without any doubts. It’s the only way. If you stop and think about it too much it will prevent you from being successful. Have the courage to pursue it by telling yourself that you will succeed and find your purpose in helping people. Think about all the lives you could touch and realise that when you touch one life you will have accomplished a lot. Great things will come if you simply believe in yourself and your worth.
Featured image courtesy of Sajia Kamrany