In a meeting held on Sunday at the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture, the Ministry’s senior officials have decided to register all journalists across Afghanistan in the Ministry’s database and distribute Press ID cards for them.
The meeting was presided over by the Taliban’s Minister of Information and Culture Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwah.
“It was decided to register all the country’s journalists at the Ministry’s database and distribute [press ID] cards for them,” the Ministry said in a statement issued late on Sunday.
Moreover, the Taliban ministry added that its senior officials 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.
“Additionally, it was recalled that no other organs have the right to directly interfere in the country’s press affairs without getting the Ministry and the Commission on Media Violations on board,” the statement added.
This comes as findings by Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC) suggest that 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.
Half of Afghanistan’s once vibrant media outlets have been either forced to stop operation, due to Taliban pressures and economic hardships, or have moved their offices abroad since the group returned to power in August 2021.
As lately as last Sunday, a women-run radio station in the north-eastern Badakhshan province went off the air following the Taliban order for alleged violation of the group’s broadcasting policy.