Updated November 28th, 2021 at 13:22 IST

7,000 media workers fled Afghanistan after Taliban takeover, says former Afghan official

Under the Taliban's oppressive regime self-censorship of the journalists has gone to the highest, said a former Afghan government official

Reported by: Ajeet Kumar
Edited by: Ajeet Kumar
IMAGE: AP | Image:self

Since the Taliban government ousted former President Ashraf Ghani and took charge of the country, the conditions of the media personnel had become grave, reported ANI quoting a former Afghan government official. While speaking in a webinar organised by one of India's prestigious universities Jamia Millia Islamia, former Deputy Minister of Coordination, Strategy and Policy in Afghanistan's State Ministry for Peace, Abdullah Khenjani, said that no media organisation in Afghanistan is working freely after the collapse of the government. He added that the current Taliban government has throttled the voices of journalists who are critical of the policies implemented by them.

Pointing to the brain drain, he said nearly 7,000 journalists and media workers including, the most prominent and leading journalists have left the country and has taken asylum in some other country. "The sudden and brutal takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban terrorists on August 15 has forced Afghanistan to be one of the terror hubs and victims of the most severe violations of human rights in the world," read a press statement released following the webinar. But in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, this identity has been left in a chaotic order, added the statement.

'Taliban is not enthusiastic to listen to any criticism'

According to Khenjani, those achievements gained in the last 20 years were lost after the Taliban dramatic takeover. Further, he pointed that Afghanistan does not have strong Opposition parties and added the media in the country played a crucial role in criticising the government. However, with the takeover of the Taliban, the role of media was hampered badly. He further stated that the Taliban is not enthusiastic to listen to any criticism from the media or even independent commentators. "No media could report on corruption, mismanagement, lack of capacity of government or Taliban's behaviour towards people," said Khenjani.         

"The media in Kabul has stopped broadcasting and publishing. The Taliban ordered them to get work permission from them and then only the media could restart working and under the new working permission if a journalist in a particular province wants to broadcast or publish a report they should send it to the Directorate of Taliban thus there is visible censorship of media and journalists by the Taliban," read the press statement released on Sunday.

'70% of media outlets in Afghanistan have stopped working'

According to the data of the National Association of Journalists, more than 70% of media outlets in Afghanistan have either stopped working or cut down on manpower after facing a financial crisis. "40% of the Afghan journalists are worried about their safety in Afghanistan and the rest of them are living a difficult life as they have lost their jobs," said Masroor Lutfi, head of the national association of journalists.

Earlier in September, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) on September 3 urged the SAARC national governments and international communities to provide a safe haven to Afghan journalists seeking help. According to the international scribe federation, the situation for media workers on the ground was 'extremely challenging'.

With inputs from ANI

Image: AP


Published November 28th, 2021 at 13:22 IST

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