Berlin, 18 September 2021 (dpa/MIA) – More than 100 Afghan journalists have appealed to the international community to actively protect press freedom in Afghanistan.
The most urgent need is for guarantees of protection, especially for female journalists, the group said anonymously in an appeal made through Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Frequent attacks on members of the press and Taliban interference in their work has led them to fear the worst, the journalists said.
The appeal, titled “Journalism in Afghanistan is in danger of extinction,” was signed by an ethnically and politically diverse group of 103 journalists, editors and photographers, including 20 women, according to RSF.
Most are still working in Afghanistan, though some are in hiding and 10 are in exile. All wanted to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals against them or their family members.
“The Taliban have shown that they will not tolerate a free press, neither in Kabul nor in the provinces,” said RSF Executive Director Christian Mihr. “There is a threat of a reversion to the dark five years of the first Taliban rule.”
The journalists urged concrete support to enable Afghan newsrooms to continue working. In the short term, diplomatic, consular and financial assistance was also needed for the evacuation of journalists at risk, the letter said.
Refugees should be helped to find work in journalism abroad, while international institutions should obtain concrete commitments from the Taliban when they negotiate with them, RSF said.
RSF welcomed the German Interior Ministry’s pledge to receive 2,600 Afghans in need of special protection and their families.
RSF confirmed it had provided the German Foreign Office with a list of names of more than 152 journalists who are currently at high risk in Afghanistan, including dozens of female reporters.
There is no sign to the end of the tense situation in Afghanistan despite it being over a month since the Taliban took power.
On Saturday, at least two people were killed and 19 were wounded in an attack on a Taliban police vehicle, dpa has learned.
In a separate incident, two people were injured in a Shia neighbourhood of Kabul when an explosive device attached to a vehicle detonated.