Free media under attack in Afghanistan: UN diplomat

Governance & Politics

Free media under attack in Afghanistan: UN diplomat

KABUL (Pajhwok): Free media is under attack in Afghanistan, says a UN diplomat, deploring the loss of jobs for many journalists.

Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Mette Knudsen said 6,400 journalists had lost their jobs since Taliban’s takeover of the country in August last year.

Speaking at an event marking World Press Freedom Day here on Saturday, the UN official noted scores of media professionals had left the country.

However, she said, many journalists were still in the country, facing an uncertain future. They were still working with strong commitment and living in consistent fear, she added.

Under the incumbent government, Knudsen said, reporters had been arbitrarily detained. Women journalists were bearing the most severe burden, she continued.

The current media situation in Afghanistan was challenging, the envoy told the audience, including journalists and a UNESCO representative.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said the digital area had also put media workers and their sources at risk of being targeted due to data retention, spyware and digital surveillance.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan urged the new rulers to respect independent media.

Richard Bennett added: “We call on the authorities to respect a free, pluralistic and independent media. We also ask them to comply with Afghanistan’s obligations and the international human rights instruments…”

Over 300 media outlets have stopped working and nearly 70 percent of journalists had been rendered jobless since Taliban’s return to power.


Hits: 7