AFGHANISTAN

40% of Afghan media have closed, 80% of women journalists lost their jobs

A survey by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) has found a radical change in the Afghan media landscape since the takeover by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA).
According to a report on the RSF website, a total of 231 media outlets have closed and more than 6,400 journalists have lost their jobs since 15 August.
Women journalists have been hit hardest, with four out of five no longer working, the report stated.
More than four out of every ten media outlets have disappeared and 60% of journalists and media employees are no longer able to work.
According to the RSF report, of the 543 media outlets tallied in Afghanistan at the start of the summer, only 312 were still operating at the end of November.
This means that 43% of Afghan media outlets disappeared in the space of three months.
The central Kabul region, which had more media than anywhere else, has not been spared. It has lost more than one of every two media outlets (51%). Of the 148 tallied prior to 15 August, only 72 are still operating.
RSF reported that the closure or reduction in the activities of media outlets has had a major impact on employment in the media sector. 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 – were still working when this survey was carried out.
RSF attributed this change in part to new regulations issued by the IEA.
The rules require journalists to tell information and culture ministry officials what they would like to cover, get their permission to go ahead and finally inform them about the results of their reporting in order to be able to publish.
“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,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk.
“Journalists’ safety, the fate of women journalists, media legislation and the right of access to news and information are all crucial issues that the authorities must address without delay. Without a free press capable of exposing bad governance’s failings, no one will be able to claim that they are combatting famine, poverty, corruption, drug trafficking and the other scourges that afflict Afghanistan and prevent a lasting peace.”
IEA spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told RSF that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan supports “freedom for the media in the defined framework for preserving the country’s higher interests, with respect for the Sharia and Islam.” He also said that the government wanted to “help those media that are operating to continue to do so, and help the others to find solutions so that they can resume operating.”
Aside from new rules, media owners have to cope with new economic constraints. Many media outlets were receiving national and international funding that ended when the IEA seized control.
“These subsidies, which came above all from countries that had a military presence in Afghanistan and which had an interest in providing them, have now ended,” said Mujahid.
Recognizing the disappearance of many media outlets, Mujahid noted that many media “executives and managers had fled the country.”
This had contributed to the “collapse” of their media outlets, he said.The post 40% of Afghan media have closed, 80% of women journalists lost their jobs first appeared on Ariana News.

Source: Ariana News

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