Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC) has reacted to the recent decision by the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture to register journalists, saying that the plan is foregrounding pressure on journalists and must be cancelled.
“AFJC perceives this plan as beyond the authority of the Ministry of Information and Culture, against journalist’s independence, and foregrounding pressure on them, and calls for its cancellation,” the organization said in a statement issued on Monday.
On Sunday, senior officials of the Taliban’s Ministry made a decision to register all journalists across Afghanistan in the Ministry’s database and issue them Press ID cards.
Moreover, they also discussed an inter-agencies agreement that requires the Ministry of Information and Culture to be the one and only responsible institution for the media.
Attendants of the meeting, including the Taliban Minister of Information and Culture Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah, further recalled at the meeting that no other organs had the right to directly interfere in the country’s press affairs without getting the Ministry and the Commission on Media Violations on board.
The AFJC has welcomed this Taliban’s inter-agencies agreement as a “positive step” and called for its implementation as per the Afghanistan’s Mas Media Law.
This comes as the AFJC has recorded at least 319 cases of violence against journalists and media, including 160 arrests, in Afghanistan since the Taliban recaptured the country.
Moreover, the AFJC’s findings suggest that suggest the Taliban security institutions, particularly its intelligence agency and vice and virtue ministry, are constraining media freedom and freedom of speech by arresting and intimidating journalists.