Over 40% of Afghan media closed after the Taliban’s return
Kabul, Dec 21 (EFE).- Over 230 media outlets have shut down in Afghanistan and over 6,400 journalists, mainly women, have lost their jobs since the Taliban seized power in mid-August, a survey published by Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday shows.
“More than four out of every ten media outlets have disappeared and 60% of journalists and media employees are no longer able to work,” the organization said.
“Of the 10,790 people working in the Afghan media (8,290 men and 2,490 women) at the start of August, only 4,360 (3,950 men and 410 women) – or four out of every ten media workers are still working,” it added.
The survey was conducted in collaboration with Afghanistan’s independent journalists’ association.
The impact on women has been larger as four in five female journalists have lost their jobs since the Taliban takeover.
“There is an urgent need to rein in the spiral leading inevitably to the disappearance of Afghan media and to ensure that respect for press freedom is a priority,” Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk, said.
In Kabul, the number of female journalists has dropped from 1,190 in early August to currently 320, according to the survey.
“But no female journalist at all is still working in 15 of the country’s 34 provinces,” according to RSF.
The arrival of the Taliban to power explains the exodus, RSF said. “Media must now comply with the ‘11 Journalism Rules’ issued by the information and culture ministry and with Taliban interpretation of Islamic doctrine on “Enjoining good and forbidding wrong.”
“Beyond the numbers, the closure of nearly half of the country’s media and the loss of more than 6,000 jobs are a disaster for press freedom,” the Afghan association’s executive-director Hojatollah Mujadadi said.
Some media in Afghanistan struggle with shortages in employees as hundreds of journalists and other professionals have fled the country after the Taliban swept back to power.
“If international institutions do not help journalists and media in Afghanistan and if the government does not take urgent action, the other half of the media and journalists, who are still working in really difficult conditions, will suffer the same fate,” he added.
The creation of the independent media was one of the greatest achievements of the last 20 years in Afghanistan after the fall of the Islamist regime in 2001.EFE