Friday, December 1, 2023

Afghan journalists say unable to cover stories independently

National Union of Afghanistan Journalists reported 95 percent of the country’s media staff have the problem of access to information and cannot cover stories independently.

The union has cited its polling that was conducted in all 34 provinces of Afghanistan during which 500 Afghan journalists were questioned.

Statistics of the polling were released in Kabul on Sunday in a press conference.

90% of the attendants are facing serious problems in collecting information as there is no specific law of access to the information after the Taliban regained power, according to the survey.

“We asked attendants if the media are censored, 90% said yes and only 10% said no, 90% attendants said yes to the question of access to information while the same percentage said they have been censored by de facto authorities,” Masroor Lutfi, the head of the union, stated.

The polling has also found that 30% of Afghan journalists found it difficult to interview Taliban authorities while 50% noted that they have problems in interviewing common people.

It comes as journalists have been accusing the Taliban of censoring, beating, intimidating, and threatening them while covering stories especially outdoor ones.

National Union of Afghanistan’s Journalists added that they do not have a legal document and guideline for media coverage by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan that has put media and Afghan journalists in great trouble.

The union announced that during the past twenty years there was a legal document for the activities of media in Afghanistan that had facilitated media coverage and access to information.

Members of the union stated that lack of the document and guidelines has led to a lack of access to information that will definitely lead to the collapse of the Afghan media outlets.

They added that after the Taliban takeover, the life of Afghan journalists is getting worse day by day and more restrictions are being imposed on access to information.

Lutfi noted that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has promised not to cause troubles for male and female journalists and the situation is also getting better in Kabul but provinces still have the problem of access to information.

“Absence of a legal document and guideline is a serious problem that has made people cover stories by themselves and based on their interests. We cannot address incidents happen to journalists until we have a guideline by IEA,” Masroor added.

It comes as more than 70% of Afghan media have close due to economic woes after the Taliban takeover on August 15 last year.

Journalists’ Foundation of Afghanistan had reported that Afghan Journalists are going through the worst economic situation as 79% of them have lost their jobs and resorted to other professions to make money and survive.

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