Sunday, April 21, 2024

UN: ‘Self-Censorship’ and Exclusion of Women in Afghan Media Under Taliban Rule

Immigration News

Saqalain Eqbal
Saqalain Eqbal
Saqalain Eqbal is an Online Editor for Khaama Press. He is a Law graduate from The American University of Afghanistan (AUAF).

A UN Women (UNW) report says that the Afghan media sector has “fundamentally changed for the worse,” under Taliban rule, with self-censorship and a systematic effort to muzzle the media and erase women from public spaces.

According to the UNW report that was published on Monday, October 24, ongoing harassment, incarceration, attacks, and detentions, as well as the requirement that female TV anchors cover their faces, are all Taliban strategies used to eliminate women’s voices, faces, experiences, and perspectives from the public sphere.

According to the report, there were concerted efforts and investments made before the Taliban took power to increase the number of women working in the media across a variety of roles, train them, and provide them with useful skills and expertise. However, after the Taliban took power, women working in the media in 11 provinces lost their jobs.

The report also stated that the Taliban has attempted to take over the Afghan media by forbidding broadcasts and publications that oppose their rule and/or are at odds with how the group interprets Islamic and Afghan values, resulting in restricted access to information.

The Taliban has issued a number of stifling decrees regarding the media, the most recent of which mandates that female invited guests have their faces covered in visual media, as a previous edict required female TV anchors to cover their faces while on air.

Additionally, according to a Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan official, visual media outlets are forbidden from inviting men to shows with female anchors.

This comes as a report by the Association of Free Journalists of Afghanistan, which was published on May 9th, stated that since the Taliban seized power, 287 media outlets have closed and nearly 6,000 journalists have lost their jobs.

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