Findings of a research by the Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU) sheds light on the grave situation journalists and media workers in Afghanistan face since the Taliban takeover of the country on August 14.
Consequently, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has welcomed the findings by its affiliate that their rights guaranteed as a way of safeguarding transparency under the Taliban regime.
IFJ condemned increased attacks on press freedom and the safety of journalists in Afghanistan.
The report titled Reflecting the Current Situation of Afghan Journalists and Media Workers in Afghanistan, that 1,379 journalists and media workers from 28 provinces says that the media space in the country has further shrunk since the Taliban Islamists came to power.
The report confirmed widely-held fears about the safety and freedom of journalists and media workers in Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul. The findings expose the deleterious environment that now confronts the Afghan media sphere.
Specifically, the research highlights grave risks faced by female journalists, who comprise more than 67 per cent of the journalists and media workers, describing their lives as under threat.
After paying lip service to women’s rights, the Taliban has since instructed media houses to cease women-led programming and removed female journalists from their posts.
According to ANJU’s report, more than 70 per cent of all respondents have received threats since the Taliban came to power nearly a month ago. The majority had been threatened verbally and 21 per cent indicated they had been physically threatened.
The report suggests that attacks against journalists and media workers are not only perpetrated by the Taliban, with unknown aggressors accounting for around 40 per cent of attacks.
The fallout of the international withdrawal has also dealt heavy economic implications on the industry as well as safety concerns. At least 67 per cent of journalists and media workers surveyed have been rendered jobless since the Taliban assumed control.
Media organisations have also been shuttered due to the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with only 31 per cent of media outlets remaining open. A lack of personal security and immunity was ranked as the highest concern by 41 per cent of respondents, followed by financial stress and a lack of job security by 30 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.
Orders limiting the capacity of Afghanistan’s media are mounting daily, with 11 sweeping media regulations instated on September 19, which can be arbitrarily interpreted as designed to censor broadcast content and restrict press freedom.
At least five journalists have been killed since the Taliban takeover. A senior Afghan journalist and union leader told the IFJ that the fear of being arrested, attacked or killed for reporting in Afghanistan has become a daily reality.
According to IFJ, “The report’s findings, whilst not unexpected, shed further light on the relentless targeting of journalists and media workers under the Taliban regime, stifling the nation’s once-dynamic media industry. The IFJ commends the ANJU’s work in collecting critical information that highlights the extreme and immediate threats faced by journalists in Afghanistan and urges the international community to increase their assistance to ensure the safety of all media workers.”
- A Tell / IFJ report