Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Afghan Journalists Face Ever-Increasing Restrictions

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Arif Ahmadi
Arif Ahmadihttps://www.khaama.com/
Arif Ahmadi holds a B.A. degree in Journalism. He works as an Editor & Content Writer for Khaama Press.
FILE: Afghan Journalists Face Ever-Increasing Restriction

Kabul, Afghanistan – In one of the latest’s, a TV host and presenter Moheb Jalili, has been abducted and tortured by the Taliban members in district 15 of the Kabul city at around 8 Saturday night, according to sources.

In an interview with Hasht-e-Subh, Jalili confirmed his detention, saying he is not sure of the crime for which the Taliban government has detained and tortured him for. The current government, however, did not immediately comment.  

Meanwhile, a local journalist Sharif Hassanyar said that his co-worker has been “badly beaten”, exclaiming Afghan media practitioners “paying the price of freedom of expression.”

“Last night Taliban intelligence service arrested my previews colleague Mohib Jalili badly beaten and tortured him,” said Hassanyar in a tweet. “Afghanistan journalists paying the price of freedom of expression.”

In another news, sources confirmed the Manager of Rasa TV Jamshi Ahamad Ahmadi has been shot wounded by unidentified in Kabul. The sources did not provide further details on his condition.  

Afghan Journalists since the Taliban Takeover

On August 15, 2021 the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, rolling back women’s rights advances and media freedom – the foremost achievements of the post-2001 reconstruction efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech.

On March 28, the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence raided at least four radio stations in the southern province of Kandanhar for so-called violating the recent ban on music, detaining six media practitioners.

On the same day, the Taliban government targeted international medias with broadcasting bans, including DW and BBC’s Afghan Services in the country. Days after, both the DW and BBC announced its programs and news bulletins will no longer be rebroadcasted by the Afghan partners.

According to sources, the Taliban government officials hold regular meetings with local media practitioners to inform them of any new rules and policy, while a number of journalists have reported they have been harassed, beaten and detained without a clear objection of their practices.

On March 17, the Taliban government had taken at least three employees of TOLOnews, Afghanistan’ largest television station, over violation of the latest policies where broadcasting foreign drama series were banned.

“After almost 24 hours I have been released from prison. I will always be the voice of the people,” Bahram Aman, a news anchor, wrote on his Facebook page.

Following the arrests, the Taliban’s secret service warned in a statement that it would not allow anyone to violate “Islamic principles”, nor threaten the “mental and psychological security” of the Afghan people, as Aljazeera wrote.

“Some media outlets were reporting cases that offended the religious sentiments of the community and threatened our national security,” the statement said. “In addition, the evil and vicious elements were receiving their propaganda material against the state from the contents of these media.”

Global Attention on Increasing Restrictions against Afghan Reporters

The ever-increasing restrictions against Afghan reporters has drawn global attention, with the United Nations (UN) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) decrying the arrests, demanding the Taliban government to stop harassing local journalists and stifling freedom of speech through continued threats, arrests, and intimidation.

“The Taliban must immediately … stop detaining and intimidating members of the Afghanistan press corps,” a statement from CPJ said, as Aljazeera reported.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in Afghanistan expressed “concerns” over the ongoing detentions of local journalists and “the ever increasing restrictions being placed on media in Afghanistan.”

“Time for the Taliban to stop gagging & banning,” the mission, known as UNAMA, said on Twitter. “Time for a constructive dialogue with the Afghan media community.”

In December 2021, Reporters Without Borders and the Afghan Independent Journalist Association said that 231 out of 543 media outlets had closed, while more than 6,400 journalists had lost their jobs since the Taliban took control of the government. The outlets closed for lack of funds, or because journalists had left the country, according to the report.

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