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CPJ urges Taliban to end media crackdown after two years of rule

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international media watchdog, has called on the Taliban to put an end to media crackdowns and uphold the rights of media and protect journalists.

“Two years after the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s once vibrant free press is a ghost of its former self,” Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, said in a statement released by the watchdog on Sunday.

“Worsening media repression is isolating Afghanistan from the rest of the world, at a time when the country is grappling with one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies. Access to reliable and trustworthy information can help save lives and livelihoods in a crisis, but the Taliban’s escalating crackdown on media is doing the opposite.”

The independent media that once flourished in Afghanistan in the past two decades have been significantly restricted and clamped down by the Taliban since their return to power in August 2021.

survey by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) counted 547 media outlets operating in the country in early 2021, saying over 50% of media outlets have closed down and many international news broadcasts have been banned. RSF reported that more than 80% of female journalists in Afghanistan have been forced to leave their jobs in two years.

During this time, according to CPJ, hundreds of journalists have fled to neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iran, and many are now stuck in legal limbo without clear prospects of resettlement to a third country.

CPJ has documented numerous cases in which the Taliban detained, beat, or abused journalists as well as imposed extreme curbs on female reporters and presenters.

Taliban has said it will not allow media outlets to air programs that are “un-Islamic” or publish “propaganda” against their authority.