As the Taliban has asserted power over Afghanistan in recent weeks, media there face new and daunting challenges, says One Free Press Coalition. Militants have searched the homes of at least four journalists and news agency employees. Meanwhile, members of the Taliban have barred at least two female journalists from their jobs at the public broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan, and Taliban militants beat Babrak Amirzada, a video reporter with Pajhwok Afghan News, and Mahmood Naeemi, a camera operator with Ariana News, while they covered an anti-Taliban protest.
One female journalist told CPJ that she had received threatening calls in recent days from the Taliban that said, “Your time is over.” Meanwhile, CPJ is investigating reports that Taliban militants searched the home of a Deutsche Welle editor, shot and killed one of their family members and seriously injured another.
Published yesterday at www.onefreepresscoalition.com and by all Coalition members, a special edition of the global monthly “10 Most Urgent” list focuses on how everyone can help journalists under attack in Afghanistan.
Engage communities and call on governments with these 10 urgent actions:
- Commit to evacuate all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families under threat.
- Simplify and secure the process for visa application and collaborate with third countries when possible.
- Establish safe corridors in Kabul to allow for the evacuation and relocation of all persons at risk, including journalists and media workers.
- Ease visa restrictions for all Afghan journalists, media workers, media advocates and their families seeking asylum.
- Ensure UN support for Afghan journalists as part of their “stay and deliver” agenda for humanitarian assistance and protection in Afghanistan.
- Open country borders to allow for the safe passage of evacuees seeking relocation and future settlement.
- Provide Afghan news organizations – including exile media – immediate ongoing core support for their newsgathering and operations.
- Create emergency funding for Afghan journalists and media workers who have left the country as well as those who remain in-country.
- Join a local civilian or corporate effort, such as offering to provide transportation, meals or temporary housing for Afghan refugees.
- Spread the word about organizations, such as CPJ and IWMF, that are providing assistance or are compiling lists of available resources.
The One Free Press Coalition is comprised of 32 prominent international members including: Agencia Efe; Al Jazeera Media Network, AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; Corriere Della Sera; De Standaard; Deutsche Welle; Estadão; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India Today; Insider Inc.; Le Temps; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Office of Cuba Broadcasting; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republik; Reuters; The Straits Times; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; TV Azteca; Voice of America; The Washington Post; and Yahoo News.
One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most-urgent cases for the list, which is updated and published on the first business day of every month.
The mission of the Coalition is to use the collective voices of its members – which reach more than 1 billion people worldwide – to “stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth.”
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