Journalists’ group receives hundreds of requests for assistance from Afghan journalists

Photo: Archive
Photo: Archive

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Friday that "panic and fear" were prevailing among Afghan journalists, especially women, noting that it had received "hundreds of requests for help" from media professionals in Afghanistan.

The international organization, which established a special fund to help Afghan journalists, said it was monitoring the situation on the ground after the Taliban took over the country, and “the many requests for emergency support reveal panic and fear amongst Afghanistan’s media community."

"We have received hundreds of requests for help – either for evacuation or for assistance for those who have moved from one province of Afghanistan to another to escape threats," IFJ Deputy General Secretary Jeremy Dear said in a statement.

Dear, who is responsible for coordinating the IFJ's emergency response in Afghanistan, noted that the vast majority of journalists trying to flee the country are women.

He added: “Women journalists are particularly fearful. Many have been prevented from working." As for those who try to do their job, they do so with "threat hanging over them and with severe restrictions on what they can report.”

Despite the Taliban’s claim there would be “no revenge” on media workers, “there have been reports of door-to-door searches for journalists and threats against many of them,” Dear said.

Taliban fighters shot dead a family member of a journalist working for German newspaper Deutsche Welle and seriously wounded another one on Wednesday, the news outlet reported. The journalist the Taliban was searching for is currently residing in Germany.

New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday that the Taliban have searched the homes of at least four journalists and media workers.

CPJ said there had been violence against many journalists who were covering a demonstration in Jalalabad in Nangarhar province.

The IFJ’s Dear said, "there are discussions with the Taliban to try to understand what their announcements mean in terms of how journalists can operate - what topics are off-limits, what pictures can they publish, can women work.”

"Others who have fled will be starting to set up operations in exile but many of them will need the support of the international community to help fund smaller media to enable them to continue to report on what is happening in Afghanistan," he said.