The UN Hears from Afghan Journalists as Media Space Shrinks in Afghanistan

VANCOUVER, CANADA – On the sidelines of the 68th annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a meeting was held to examine the status of women journalists in Afghanistan.

The meeting, entitled ‘Afghan Women Journalists under Taliban Rule,’ was held on Tuesday, March 12, with the participation of several women journalists and media officials from Afghanistan at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Amnesty International, the International Media Support (IMS), the UN Women section UNESCO, Denmark, and a Swedish aid organization jointly organized the meeting.

The Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations said in a post on X that the focus of the meeting was on how the international community can support the work of Afghan women under Taliban rule.

The Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations added: “Afghan women journalists daily resist oppression & risk their lives to produce media content.”

Wahida Faizi, one of the Afghan women journalists who spoke at the meeting, also wrote in a post on X that they discussed the current situation of women journalists in Afghanistan. She added that the discussion revolved around what type of support women journalists in Afghanistan need and how the international community and international organizations can help them.

The International Media Support Organization (IMS) said in a statement that the meeting examined the situation of women journalists in Afghanistan. The organization stated that women journalists in Afghanistan, in addition to severe economic difficulties, also struggle with mental health issues.

According to the organization’s statement, the Taliban do not allow women journalists to participate in press conferences or be present at the scene of events. The Taliban’s spokespersons also do not respond to phone calls from women journalists and do not interview them in many cases.

According to IMS, there were 1,400 women journalists in the country before the Taliban took over Afghanistan. That number decreased to 400 two years after the group’s return before increasing again to 600 in 2024.

“These journalists take tremendous risks for their lives and need the support of the international community.”

Since regaining control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed extensive restrictions on the work of women journalists. The group has forced women journalists to wear black clothing and masks while hosting TV programs and has prevented them from participating in joint program execution with male journalists.