Media under threat in Afghanistan, warns United Nations

Taliban Afghanistan

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated in its report on the human rights violation of at least 200 reporters that there has been an excessive rise in crime against journalists in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power in August last year.

UNAMA tweeted on Wednesday on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists that the crackdown on media is still persistent in the country and that arbitrary detentions and intimidation are a part of a media person's life in Kabul, Khaama Press reported.

Taking to Twitter, UNAMA said, "Human rights abuses of more than 200 reporters in Afghanistan recorded by UNAMA since August 2021. Record high numbers include arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment, threats and intimidation."

"Media in #Afghanistan is in peril. Let us all help #ProtectJournalists #EndImpunity," UNAMA tweeted.

The UNAMA called for the protection of Afghan media at all costs and added that the media is in "peril". In addition, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, stated that more than 70 journalists have died this year as a result of their job, reported Khaama Press.

"We must end the common culture of impunity and enable journalists to do their essential work," Guterres wrote on his Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, according to Tolo News, some journalists in the capital said that they were faced with restrictions while covering security events and access to information.

"Security forces don't allow us to cover events and that is a serious problem because media and people who watch the media want to be aware of events," said another reporter, Abid Momand.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in mid-August last year, it rolled back women's rights advances and media freedom revoking the efforts on gender equality and freedom of speech in the country.

According to a report by the South Asian Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) over 45 per cent of journalists have quit since the terrorist outfit assumed power. The ever-increasing restrictions against media in Afghanistan have also drawn widespread criticism globally with the United Nations (UN) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) decrying the arrests, demanding the Taliban stop harassing local journalists and stifling freedom of speech through continued detentions and threats.

The Taliban had promised women's rights, media freedom, and amnesty for government officials in the group's first news conference after the takeover in August. However, activists, former government employees, and journalists among others continue to face retribution.