‘117 Afghan radio stations have shut down since Taliban’s return’

Kabul, Feb 13 (EFE).- Some 117 Afghan radio stations have closed mainly due to economic hardships since the return of the Islamist Taliban regime, displacing 1,900 people in the industry, a media watchdog report said on Monday.

According to the Afghan Independent Journalist Union (AIJU), 345 radio channels operated in Afghanistan before the Taliban seized power in Kabul in August 2021.

The industry employed nearly 5,000 people, including over 1,200 women.

“(But) due to economic problems, 117 radios have stopped broadcasting and 1,900 radio workers lost their jobs, of which 1075 workers are females,” said the AIJU report, released to mark World Radio Day.

The media watchdog said only 223 radio channels, employing 1,881 workers, remained 19 months after the Taliban takeover.

The report said only 163 women continued to work with Afghan radios across the country.

Nai, the open media advocacy group that supports free media in Afghanistan, said 48 percent of some 307 radio stations established in Afghanistan over the past two decades have ceased operations since the return of the Islamist regime.

“World Radio Day is celebrated while nearly half (48%) of audio media have stopped their broadcast due to economic challenges in the country,” Nai said.

The return of the Taliban has led to the deterioration of press freedom in Afghanistan amid increasing censorship, repression, and abuse of journalists by the Islamist regime.

The deepening economic crisis in the country Due to the blockade of international funds has multiplied the media challenges in the war-battered country.

In November last year, the United Nations mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said more than 200 journalists have suffered abuses like arbitrary arrests and threats in Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power.

Women have been the worst sufferers due to severe restrictions in a grim reminder of the previous Taliban regime from 1996-2000 when the Islamist militia confined females to their homes and banned them from attending schools or working. EFE


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