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Challenges faced by Afghan female journalists: unemployment, exile, and dire situation

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

In two years under the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, significant changes have impacted various aspects of life, including the journalist community. Stringent limitations, joblessness, and a mass exodus have particularly affected female journalists, compelling many to flee the country. This report focuses on the plight of female journalists.

According to Reporters Without Borders’ statistics, between August 2021 and August 2023, 80% of female journalists have lost their jobs. Simultaneously, over the past two years, more than a thousand journalists have become refugees in various countries after leaving Afghanistan. 

Indigenous information, including findings from organizations supporting Afghan journalists, reveals a 93% unemployment rate among women journalists in Afghanistan.

Laila Ebrahimi, a journalist with over two years of diverse experience in Afghan media, resides in Pakistan. She says, “Close to a year ago, I resigned from my job as a journalist in Afghanistan and relocated to Pakistan due to compelling circumstances. Since then, I have been striving to secure a job opportunity, aiming to cover living expenses at least; however, these strivings have yielded no positive results.”

Ms. Laila elaborates on Pakistan’s rising cost of living, encompassing essential necessities. She notes a contrasting perspective among Pakistanis regarding Afghan refugees: “While the cost of renting a house for Pakistani might range from 6,000 to 8,000 Afghanis, the same houses are rented out to Afghans for approximately 20,000 Afghanis.”

Simultaneously, NAI, an organization supporting Afghan journalists, announced the arrest of Afghan journalists by Pakistani security forces. The organization added that the security forces of Pakistan have arrested several Afghan refugees, among whom were Afghan journalists.

 The report reveals that security forces have confiscated and inspected the electronic devices of journalists, including cameras, laptops, and phones. Afghan journalist Mohammad Tahir Sadid’s case exemplifies Pakistani police misconduct towards journalists. Arrested in Pakistan in June, Sadid was allegedly asked for money by the police for his release.

It is essential to highlight that the Committee for the Immunity of Afghan Journalists entered into an agreement with the International Association of Pak-Afghan Journalists in June this year. The aim was to offer financial assistance to journalists away from their home country. However, despite this arrangement, at least three exiled journalists have informed Khaama Press News Agency that they have not yet received any assistance from these organizations.

Shukria Sadat Nori, a journalist from Afghanistan, left the country due to security threats following the Taliban’s resurrection. She is currently in exile in Pakistan, specifically in Karachi, with a background in Samangan provinces media; she expressed her concerns with Khaama Press: “I am in the city of Karachi, Pakistan, and I do not have a home. I am worried about finding meals in the following days as no institution has offered assistance.”

Ms. Sadat requests assistance from journalist-supporting organizations due to her challenging financial and emotional situation.

Reporters Without Borders announced that since the establishment of the caretaker government in Afghanistan, 84% of women journalists, or four out of five, have quit media activities due to increased pressure and a challenging situation.

Women journalists in Afghanistan are not only experiencing high unemployment and mass deportation but even those who remain employed face insults and humiliations. Restrictions include banning women’s voices and covering the faces of female presenters.

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