AFGHANISTAN

Taliban Officials Threaten Media Outlets and Torture Journalists: HRW Report

Kabul – Human Rights Watch has reported that local Taliban authorities are threatening and imposing restrictions on media outlets in parts of Afghanistan.

The agency reported on Monday that Taliban officials carried out widespread violence against media outlets in the capital and provinces, stating they have severely restricted the publication of critical reports in the country.

Human Rights Watch has stated that the situation of journalists, especially female journalists is worse in the provinces in comparison to Kabul.

The report mentioned the arrests, beatings, and threats of journalists by local Taliban officials, stating that journalists are forced to self-censorship as covering only official newsletters and programs. In addition, the agency has reported that female journalists faced the most severe repression.

“Taliban harassment and attacks on journalists outside major urban areas have largely gone unreported, causing media outlets in outlying provinces to self-censor or close altogether,” said Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. “In many provinces, the Taliban have virtually eliminated reporting on a wide range of issues and have driven women journalists out of the profession.”

Human Rights Watch said: “An estimated 80 percent of women journalists across Afghanistan have lost their jobs or left the profession since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, and hundreds of media outlets have closed.”

The agency spoke with 24 journalists and other media workers in 17 of the country’s 34 provinces to learn about conditions outside of Kabul. Journalists in each of these provinces said the Taliban actively monitor their publications and compel them to share the content of their reports with the provincial Directorate of Information and Culture before publication. Many of the journalists said that Taliban intelligence officials regularly meet with media organizations to tell them what to publish and to warn them not to contradict Taliban policies or to report on acts of violence by Taliban officials.

Human Rights Watch said journalists could not cover arbitrary detentions, rising food prices, and other government-related issues and would be tortured if they violated the order.

The agency added in its report that officials had told all female journalists to quit their jobs and that the few who were allowed to work could no longer play the role in which they faced people.

“It is never easy to get news from rural areas of Afghanistan,” said Fereshta Abbasi, a researcher at the organization.

Fereshta Abbasi has called on the international community to put pressure on Kabul rulers to end attacks and violence against the media.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch and agencies that support media outlets have previously voiced their concerns by publishing many reports on the state of freedom of expression and media in Afghanistan.

The post Taliban Officials Threaten Media Outlets and Torture Journalists: HRW Report appeared first on Hasht-e Subh Daily.



Source: Hasht-e Subh Daily

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