The latest: In another move of suppressing journalistic freedom, Mullah Ahmad Shah Deendost, the Taliban’s governor of Ghor province, instructed media professionals and journalists in the province that their work must be in accordance with “Islamic Sharia”.
- Deendost made the remarks on Tuesday at a meeting organized by the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) under the Joint Media-Government Coordination Committee (JMGCC).
- “Freedom of expression and the media professionals who are currently providing information to the public should be in accordance with Islamic law,” Deendost had said.
- “Journalists should refrain from broadcasting what is against the policy of the Taliban,” he added.
- After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the group has imposed a wide-ranging restriction against media work. The Taliban have also arrested and tortured journalists in many cases.
- The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) organized such coordination meetings with Taliban government officials, local journalists and media managers of Herat, Balkh, Ghazni, Parwan, Logar and Laghman provinces.
- In these meetings, improving the work process of JMGCC, journalists’ safety, challenges facing media work such as lack of access to information and financial hardships of the media houses were discussed.
Meanwhile, even though there is talk to trying to provide safety to journalists, on the ground the situation is completely different. Pajhwok News Agency reporter Sirat Noori, who had been injured in the explosion at the Tibian Cultural Center in Mazar-e-Sharif, said that the local Taliban officials and doctors expelled him from the Balkh hospital.
- Noori added that an armed man entered the room where he was being treated and said, “I wish they were all dead.” Noori criticised the Taliban members and said that their comments were tougher to bear than the sound of the explosion which injured him.
- Earlier, it was also reported that after the explosion in Mazar-i-Sharif, the Taliban had searched the journalists injured at the scene.
Zoom out: The blast which shook the Tibian cultural centre, Mazar-i-Sharif, in Balkh province on March 11 targeted many journalists. And even though the ISIS claimed responsibility, the Taliban are hounding the victims of the blast. Nai said that the Taliban have questioned journalists who were injured in during the blast and confiscated their belongings.
- In a statement, Nai had called the Taliban’s move against human rights values and said that the situation was a form of “double pressure” on journalists.
- Also, since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, the group has imposed some tough restrictions on media and journalists. According to the decrees, no private or public media outlet or news channel is allowed to criticize Taliban members or speak against Afghanistan’s de facto regime.