Over half of Afghan journalists lost jobs with Taliban takeover – Times of India

Over half of Afghan journalists lost jobs with Taliban takeover – Times of India


ISLAMABAD: The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August this year has deprived more than half of Afghan journalists of their jobs as over 40% of media outlets that were functional in the war-ravaged country had stopped operations.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), which conducted a survey on the plight of Afghan journalists, said on Wednesday that since August 84% of women journalists and media workers have become unemployed due to restrictions.
“A total of 231 media outlets have been closed and more than 6,400 journalists have lost their jobs since August 15. Women journalists have been hit the hardest, with four out of five no longer working,” the survey revealed.
Of the 543 media outlets operating at the start of summer 2021, only 312 were still operating at the end of November. “More than four out of every 10 media outlets have disappeared and 60% of journalists and media employees are no longer able to work. Women have suffered much more than men…,” the survey report read.
Before the fall of the US-backed Afghan government there were at least 10 media outlets operating in most provinces of Afghanistan. “There used to be 10 media outlets in the mountainous northern province of Parwan but now just three are functioning. In the western city of Herat (the country’s third-largest) and the surrounding province, only 18 of the 51 media outlets are still functional — a 65% fall. Central Kabul region, which had more TV and radio channels than anywhere else, has lost more than one of every two media outlets (51%). Of the 148 tallied prior to August 15, only 72 are still operating,” the survey results showed.
RSF and AIJA have said that the new restrictions imposed on media outlets, especially on female reporters, and economic and financial challenges are the two main reasons behind the closing of media outlets and female reporters becoming unemployed.
“The dangerous ‘journalism rules’ open the way to censorship and persecution, and deprive journalists of their independence, forcing them to tell information and culture ministry officials what they would like to cover, get their permission to go ahead and finally inform them about the results of their reporting in order to be able to publish,” the report said.
“There is an urgent need to rein in the spiral leading inevitably to the disappearance of Afghan media and to ensure that respect for press freedom is a priority,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk.


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