Business & Economy

‘Press freedom violations on rise in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan’

Kabul, Nov 2 (EFE).- More than 200 media professionals have suffered abuses like arbitrary arrests in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, the United Nations said on Wednesday, noting a significant rise in press freedom violations in the Islamist-ruled country.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said its findings were based on testimonials and complaints.

“Human rights abuses of more than 200 reporters in Afghanistan recorded by UNAMA since August 2021. Record high numbers include arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, threats and intimidation,” the UN mission tweeted on the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.”

“Media in Afghanistan is in peril,” the UN agency warned.

The Taliban’s coming to power on Aug.15, 2021, had a severe impact on the freedom of expression in Afghanistan, according to various local and international media organizations.

Local media watchdog Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) in its report about the state of the press in the first year of the Taliban rule, noted “a significant increase in cases of violation of media freedom and the closure of almost half of media outlets in the country.”

The report found “deterioration in press freedom over the past year, marked by censorship, detentions, assaults, and restrictions on media outlets, journalists, and in particular women journalists.”

The report corroborated the UN findings on the state of media in Afghanistan, pointing out that 245 cases of violations against media freedom in Afghanistan were reported between Aug.15, 2021, to August 15, 2022.

The violations include 130 cases of short-term detention of journalists that often included physical violence, insults, and even torture.

The media watchdog recorded two cases of killings, including the death of Alireza Ahmadi, a reporter for Raha News Agency, and Najma Sadeqi, a former presenter of Jahan-e-Sehat TV channel, in the deadly explosion at Kabul Airport.

The scribes were trying to flee the country after the fall of Kabul to August.

“There are fears that the current environment of apprehension could be used to harass female journalists, many of whom have already fled the country in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover last year,” the watchdog report noted.

It called for press freedom to be respected in Afghanistan and an end to all forms of violations.

The AFJC called on the Taliban to implement the Afghan media laws, including mass media and access to information laws to ensure press freedom.

It also asked the Islamists to reinstate the joint media and government committee established in 2016 to address the security concerns and press freedom violations. EFE


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