As the year 2021 sets to finish its cycle, Afghanistan emerges as the most dangerous country for scribes with 12 journo-casualties, followed by Mexico (10 dead), Pakistan (7), India (6), etc. The south Asian nation also lost at least 10 media workers to the Covid-19 complications till date, said Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body.
Since the Taliban take over the country in August, it also witnessed the collapse of over 150 print media outlets following new restrictions and many opted for online news services. Thousands of professional journalists lost their jobs and many left their country for safer places to practice journalism. Afghan women journalists have to face the worst situation as they are restricted from various outdoor activities.
Financial crisis is looming large over the Afghan media as thenewspapers lost readership and commercial advertisement revenues drastically in the last four months. Almost half of the media outlets including radio and televisions in Kabul had closed down their operations leaving thousands of media workers jobless that put them in acute crisis with no or little hope of revival.
“PEC expresses serious concern over the negative development to Afghan media. Lately a young reporter (Javid Yousufi) was stabbed in Kabul by the miscreants. Other localities like Balk, Takhar and Kunduz also witnessed physical attacks on journalists in the last few days. The regime in Kabul must protect the journalists as they are doing their duties,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.
He also appreciated the management of TOLO news, the country’s first recognized news channel presenting news in Dari and Pashto languages since August 2010, for continuing to engage female reporter-news anchors defying the Taliban restrictions. Speaking to PEC’s south Asia representative Nava Thakuria, an Afghan lady reporter expressed optimism that other media outlets would also follow the same principle of not bowing down to the Taliban regime.
Click here for CPJ Archive on Afghanistan