UN Says Free Media Is Under Attack In Afghanistan

The United Nations said that the media industry in Taliban-led Afghanistan has been going through a “precarious” and challenging time in the past 20 years.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UNESCO have expressed concern over the “shrinking” and “restrictive” media in Afghanistan as they marked World Press Freedom Day in Kabul.

UNAMA Deputy Head, Mette Knudsen praised the Afghan journalists for their hard-working, tenacity, and resilience.

“Free media is under attack. News outlets have been shut down. Journalists have lost jobs. Scores have left the country, but many remain, facing an uncertain future,” Knudsen’s office quoted her in a statement.

Knudsen said that the lives of most Afghan journalists, who were working with commitment and dedication, are under constant fear and intimidation.

Meanwhile, Knudsen assured UNAMA’s strong support for the free and independent media in Afghanistan.

Knudsen also called for safety, professional independence, and a free press, calling on the Taliban authorities to ensure a conducive environment for journalists to operate and ensure their safety.  

Knudsen also urged special attention to protect the female media workers, calling on the international community to expand support to the independent Afghan media.

UNESCO Afghanistan also expressed its concern about the detention of journalists and increasing restrictions on media freedom.

TOLONews Director Khpalwak Sapai spoke on behalf of the Afghan media outlets and called on the UN and the wider international community to help them. “I also call on the de facto authorities to initiate dialogue with the media community,” Sapai said.

World Press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on 3 May to reiterate support for the fundamental principles of press freedom evaluate press freedom globally, and defend the media workers from attacks.

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