Taliban Restrictions on Media; Afghanistan Removed From the MFC

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) announced that Afghanistan has been removed as a member of Media Freedom Coalition (MFC), a partnership of countries working together proactively to advocate for media freedom at home and abroad.

Afghanistan became a member of this coalition in the month of January 2020, during the republic government that had committed to the global pledge on media freedom.

In statement published yesterday Friday November 18, Canada and the Netherlands, as co-chairs of the MFC, gave notice stating that the situation of the Afghan media is no longer in accordance with country’s pledges on media freedom.

In this statement, it is stated that the decision to cancel Afghanistan’s membership was made in consultation with the MFC membership and as per the coalition’s terms of reference

“It is clear to the coalition that the situation of media freedom in Afghanistan is unfortunately no longer in line with the global pledge [of this country] and the current situation [of media freedom] is one of the [coalition’s] serious concerns.”, MFC added.

Taliban, since their return, have imposed serious restrictions on the media freedom power, which has threatened the safety and well-being of journalists and media workers.

AFJC acknowledged the concern of the MFC regarding the situation of freedom of expression in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule.

Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the AFJC has recorded at least 245 cases of violence against journalists and media workers. These cases include arbitrary arrests, physical violence, threats and intimidation, injuries, and even deaths of media workers, AFJC’s report added.

AFJC’s findings show that at least 130 cases of temporary detention – ranging from an hour to several months – have been reported in one year of Taliban rule in the country. The report details how journalists have faced violence and threats while in detention. AFJC has asked the Taliban to fulfil their commitment to support journalists and respect free media, remove the restrictions imposed on the media and journalists.