Photo: Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC)

Taliban Detains Local Journalist in Parwan Over Alleged Reporting for Exiled Media

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC) reports that Taliban intelligence agents have detained a local journalist in eastern Parwan province for alleged collaboration with exiled media outlets.

In a statement issued today, May 6, AFJC said that the journalist, identified as Neda Mohammad Noori and associated with National Radio and Television of Afghanistan (RTA), was detained in the capital city of Charikar on Saturday, May 4.

Taliban authorities in Parwan province have reportedly warned local journalists against working with the exiled media outlets, accusing them of “spreading anti-Taliban propaganda.”

The media watchdog expressed deep concern over the journalist’s detention, calling upon the ruling regime in Afghanistan to release him immediately and without any conditions.

AFJC also urges the Taliban General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) to halt its arbitrary arrests of journalists, actions which, according to the media watchdog, only serve to suppress press freedom and promote self-censorship in the country.

The media watchdog warns of the dire consequences of the media conditions in Afghanistan, emphasizing the need for Taliban authorities to respect the freedom of the media and uphold the rights of journalists to work independently and without fear of reprisal.

This incident represents the most recent wave of journalist detentions by the Taliban following their return to power in Afghanistan. Over the past nearly three years, the regime has detained, tortured, and in some cases, even killed dozens of journalists in the country.

In most instances, the Taliban accuses journalists and media workers of collaborating with exiled media outlets and engaging in espionage for foreign media entities and groups that oppose the regime.

AFJC’s latest report, released last week, documented 136 instances of media freedom violations in 2023, including 72 threats and 64 journalist arrests.

While no journalists were physically harmed or killed in 2023, the AFJC reports a significant increase in Taliban interference through the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) and the Ministry of Virtue and Vice.

“While this number is lower than the 213 incidents reported between May 2022 and May 2023, it is still concerning to see that restrictions on media freedom continue to persist and even increase.”

The Taliban’s imposition of media restrictions and pressure on journalists and media workers has resulted in the closure of over half of the country’s media outlets, TV stations, and radio stations.

In a report in March, the Afghanistan Journalist’s Support Organization (AJSO), a German-based Afghan media watchdog, revealed that following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, only 13 out of 91 print newspapers, 68 out of 248 TV channels, and 211 out of 438 radio stations remain operational in the country.

The remaining outlets, as per AJSO report, either relocated outside the country or closed due to Taliban restrictions or financial challenges.