The Guardian

Taliban’s return ‘a catastroph­e’ for journalism in Afghanista­n

- Kim Willsher

Journalism in Afghanista­n is in danger of disappeari­ng, according to the head of the Internatio­nal Federation of Journalist­s, who said reporters trying to continue doing their jobs under the Taliban had been beaten and imprisoned.

“The Taliban don’t want to make too many waves right now, but they will want to take control of everything, including the foreign press in Afghanista­n,” Anthony Bellanger, the IFJ secretary general, told the Guardian. “And as often happens in such situations, foreign journalist­s will be considered agents of foreign government­s.

“I believe what we will see emerge is an official media – a Taliban media – and no women. All other journalist­s will just disappear. It wasn’t easy before – and even before the Taliban took power, journalist­s were killed – but it is very bleak now.

Bellanger believes there is currently a “grace” period but expects the Taliban to crackdown on internatio­nal and Afghan journalist­s.

“It’s a question of weeks before it changes. I am pessimisti­c – I will be glad to be proved wrong, but the Taliban is still the Taliban. They announced an inclusive government and what did we get – no women. It’s a catastroph­e.”

IFJ representa­tives are in contact with Afghan colleagues and believe about 1,300 remain in the country, including about 220 women, mostly in Kabul. The IFJ is affiliated with Afghanista­n’s National Journalist­s’ Union and the Afghan Independen­t Journalist­s’ Associatio­n.

“It is now completely impossible for female journalist­s to work. The rest are doing a very difficult job and are doing what they can. We have photograph­s of journalist­s who have been imprisoned and beaten, so the situation for them is very difficult and dangerous,” he said.

 ??  ??
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/GETTY ?? ▼ Two Afghan journalist­s who were beaten and detained by Taliban fighters for reporting on a protest in Kabul
PHOTOGRAPH: WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP/GETTY ▼ Two Afghan journalist­s who were beaten and detained by Taliban fighters for reporting on a protest in Kabul
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: EPA ?? ▲ Reporters taking part in a Taliban press conference. There are fears Afghan and internatio­nal journalist­s will face a major crackdown
PHOTOGRAPH: EPA ▲ Reporters taking part in a Taliban press conference. There are fears Afghan and internatio­nal journalist­s will face a major crackdown

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom