Japan’s Kyodo News reporter arrested in Kabul, says media watchdog

Kabul, Jan 22 (EFE).- The Taliban government has allegedly arrested a local journalist associated with Japan’s Kyodo news agency, a media watchdog said on Monday.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) said the reporter, Ehsan Akbari, was detained on Jan. 17 and his whereabouts remain unknown.

“There is no updated information regarding his well-being,” AFJC head Ahmad Quraishi told EFE

The media watchdog strongly condemned the journalist’s arrest, urging his immediate and unconditional release, and called on the Taliban government to respect the country’s media laws, allowing the press to work freely.

According to AFJC, Akbari was summoned by the Government Media and Information Center before being detained.

Afghan intelligence officers took him to the Kyodo news agency office in Kabul’s Share-Naw area, confiscating his laptop, camera, and smartphone. The journalist’s family is reportedly unaware of his current location.

Akbari’s arrest marks the third incident of a journalist being detained in the past week. Ahmad Jawad Rasooli and Abdulhaq Hamidi, journalists from Gardesh-e-Etilaat News Agency, were detained in Kabul on Jan. 18 and released on Jan. 20 after posting bail.

“The (Afghan intelligence) typically adheres to a policy of neither confirming nor denying the arrest or investigation of journalists. In addition, no comments have been made by the Taliban government spokesperson, or the ministry of information and culture, regarding this issue,” the media watchdog said.

Last year, AFJC documented 168 incidents involving violations of journalists’ rights in the country. Sixty-one journalist and media worker were arrested in 2023. EFE


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