257 Afghan Media Outlets Shut Since Taliban Takeover

Kabul:  Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, a total of 257 media outlets have been shut “due to financial challenges as well as restrictions”, a media report said citing an NGO.

NAI, the group which has been providing advocacy and support to the Afghan media industry since 2004, said on Tuesday said the closed outlets include print, radio and TV stations, TOLO News reported.

According to NAI, over 70 per cent of Afghan media workers have become jobless or left the country after Kabul fell to the Taliban on August 15.

Reports have also revealed that during the 100 days of Taliban rule, six reporters have lost their lives in various incidents including attacks by unknown armed men, explosions, suicide and traffic incidents.

Officials of the Taliban-led Islamic Emirate government have repeatedly said they are committed to protect media achievements and freedom of expression.

But the Islamic Emirate’s two lists of principles for media operation have raised concerns over restrictions, said the TOLO News report.

“The recent statement, which has eight articles (from the Virtue and Vice ministry) has raised concerns. We hope the issue is resolved in consultation with the media,” the TOLO News report quoted Hujatullah Mujadedi, head of the Afghanistan Independent Journalists’ Association, as saying.

“We urge that the Law on Access to Information, and Media Law, which are not being used now, be amended based on the current situation and in consultation with the media,” said Masroor Lutfi, media officer at Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union.