Afghanistan Global Womens Rights

Afghan Journalists in Jeopardy and the Taliban’s Tightening Grip on Media Freedom

The Taliban has halted local TV network’s broadcasts in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. Hamesha Bahar TV and Radio network was the outlet targeted in a Taliban raid of the office on Monday. 

This is not an isolated incident, nor the first of its kind, as the media outlet had a similar situation and treatment by the Taliban two months ago in Jalalabad city. Media freedom has been severely restricted under the Taliban, as well as women’s rights and freedoms. 

Employees described the office breach that led to verbal abuse towards people who were attending a journalism class, including women. Atal Khan Stanekzai, head of Hamesha Bahar Radio and TV network in Nangarhar said that the Taliban treated employees and attendees with inappropriate language and belittling words. Afghanistan Journalists Center released a statement on Tuesday and revealed that the class at Hamesha Bahar TV network had 16 attendees, including six women. Yasamin Sahar, an employee, shared disappointment because some female employees did not return to work the next day. Sources have said that the reason behind the outlet’s closure was the presence of women in this class. 

Hamesha Bahar Radio and TV network has had an influential presence in Nangarhar for nearly 12 years and has been crucial in sharing information through its broadcasts. The organization has also educated the youth about journalism and helped them develop skills related to working in journalism. This latest incident has raised concerns about the obstacles facing media outlets and educational programs in areas under Taliban control.

The issue at hand is that the safety and rights of media professionals and students in Afghanistan is in jeopardy. Journalists expressed their worries over the shrinking work opportunities for them, and have accused the Taliban of restricting freedom of expression. Shakrullah Pason, a journalist, said the “Taliban’s actions are squeezing the space for journalistic activities, making it narrower than ever” an employee at Radio Sada in Nangarhar, Irfanullah Bidar, was even imprisoned for 12 days before the Taliban raid. 

Amnesty International has noted that the takeover of the Taliban has caused various restrictions on freedom of expression in the country. The restriction of reputable and established media outlets has repercussions throughout Afghanistan, leading to a news vacuum that gives way to disinformation and to the violation of rights for journalists.


Amu TV 08/02/2023

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