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Friday, September 24, 2021

Press freedom in Afghanistan: How to help journalists under attack

After the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, lives of journalists are in imminent danger. The One Free Press Coalition has put together what governments and individuals can do to help journalists in Afghanistan.

By: Deutsche Welle |
Updated: September 1, 2021 9:18:56 pm
Taliban special force fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 31, 2021. (AP)

As the Taliban has asserted power over Afghanistan in recent weeks, media there face new and daunting challenges. On September 1, international media outlets worldwide unite as the One Free Press Coalition to publish this special edition of the global monthly “10 Most Urgent” list — with a focus on how governments, international groups, and individuals can help journalists under attack in Afghanistan right now.

Militants have searched the homes of at least four journalists and news agency employees. In August, Taliban fighters hunting a DW journalist have shot dead one member of his family and seriously injured another. Meanwhile, members of the Taliban have barred at least two female journalists from their jobs at the public broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan, and Taliban militants beat Babrak Amirzada, a video reporter with Pajwhok Afghan News, and Mahmood Naeemi, a camera operator with Ariana News, while they covered an anti-Taliban protest.

1. Commit to evacuate all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families.

2. Simplify and secure the process for visa application and collaborate with third countries when possible.

3. Establish safe corridors in Kabul to allow for the evacuation and relocation of all persons at risk, including journalists and media workers.

4. Ease visa restrictions for all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families seeking asylum.

5. Ensure UN support for Afghan journalists as part of their “stay and deliver” agenda for humanitarian assistance and protection in Afghanistan.

6. Open country borders to allow for the safe passage of evacuees seeking relocation and future settlement.

7. Provide Afghan news organizations—including exile media—immediate ongoing core support for their news-gathering and operations.

8. Create emergency funding for Afghan journalists and media workers who have left the country as well as those who remain in-country.

9. Join a local civilian or corporate effort, such as offering to provide transportation, meals or temporary housing for Afghan refugees.

10. Spread the word about organizations, such as CPJ, IWMF, that are providing assistance or are compiling lists of available resources.

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