PEC deplores the shrinking space for press freedom
Geneva, October 2, 2021: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media rights organization based in Geneva, laments the lack of newspapers on newsstands across Afghanistan as most media outlets are moved to online space after the arrival of Taliban forces in the capital city of Kabul.
Expressing deep concern at the growing threats to the safety of professional journalists in this Southeast Asian country, the PEC calls on the United Nations and the international community to urge the new government in Kabul to respect press freedom and the safety of journalists.
According to local media, the press is paralyzed especially in Kabul, which is once again in the grip of the Taliban after the fall of the government of President Ashraf Ghani on August 15, 2021. Before their advent, the ancient city witnessed several newspapers and other media that have surfaced over the past two decades to meet the needs of readers, listeners and viewers.
“Overall, a total of 150 newspapers / magazines out of 500 media outlets, including TV and radio stations and news agencies, have closed in the past month. The space for independent press and freedom of expression is shrinking day by day, ”said a report in Afghanistan Times, adding that the safety and security of scribes and general financial problems have deteriorated the situation.
The Afghan media and the fraternity of journalists are going through their worst times in the past 20 years and many have fled their countries. They believe that if the international community and the Taliban are not careful, the remaining media will also collapse very soon.
“Kabul alone had about 20 newspapers in English and local languages before the Taliban forces arrived. Today the media is under serious security threats and a financial crisis as most foreign governments and non-government offices have abandoned the country and their potential supporters have also disappeared, ”the secretary general said. from PEC, Blaise Lempen.
Recently, a group of about 150 Afghan journalists urged the United Nations and other international groups to ensure their protection amid threats by Taliban militants. Speaking to Nava Thakuria, PEC representative for South and Southeast Asia, an Afghan journalist revealed that the media fraternity has lost its female members, as the Taliban regime is supposed to maintain its harsh policies towards women journalists from the start.
The freedom of expression of Afghan journalists who fled the country in August is also limited, said an Afghan journalist, who took refuge in Belgium in August. Addressing the PEC, he commented: “Due to the risks to my colleagues, who are still in Afghanistan, I cannot speak or write my own story now, probably another time, when they are also out of the country. or at least there is no high risk for them.