A new survey found that at least 40 percent of media outlets in Afghanistan have closed down and more than 80 percent of women journalists lost their jobs since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its latest report with its local partner, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), reported that a total of 231 media outlets have had to close and more than 6,400 journalists have lost their jobs since 15 August.
Women journalists have been hit hardest, with four out of five no longer working, according to the survey.
According to the study, of the 543 media outlets tallied in Afghanistan at the start of the summer, only 312 were still operating. “This means 43 percent of Afghan media outlets disappeared in the space of three months.”
The survey finds that Kabul, the capital city, which had more media than anywhere else lost more than one of every two media outlets (51pc) – of the 148 tallied prior to 15 August, only 72 are still operating.
RSF reported that the closure or reduction in the activities of media outlets has had a major impact on employment in the media sector.
Of the 10,790 people working in the Afghan media (8,290 men and 2,490 women) at the start of August, only 4,360 (3,950 men and 410 women) – or four out of every ten media workers – were still working according to the survey.
Reza Moini, head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk, said that there is an urgent need to rein in the spiral leading inevitably to the disappearance of Afghan media and to ensure that respect for press freedom is a priority.
“Journalists’ safety, the fate of women journalists, media legislation, and the right of access to news and information are all crucial issues that the authorities must address without delay,” Moini added.
According to Moini, without a free press capable of exposing bad governance’s failings, no one will be able to claim that they are combating famine, poverty, corruption, drug trafficking, and the other scourges that afflict Afghanistan and prevent a lasting peace.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid told RSF that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan supports “freedom for the media in the defined framework for preserving the country’s higher interests, with respect for the Sharia and Islam.”
Mujahid claimed that the government wanted to “help those media that are operating to continue to do so, and help the others to find solutions so that they can resume operating.”
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