Afghan journalists are ‘completely petrified’ amid the Taliban takeover

The Committee to Defend Journalists has warned that Afghan journalists face excessive risks amid the Taliban takeover. On Sunday, the militants took management of the presidential palace in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani fled the nation.
Suspected Taliban fighters killed an Afghan radio station supervisor in Kabul final week, according to Reuters, intensifying worry amongst journalists in the neighborhood.

Afghan journalists, significantly girls, are “completely petrified,” CNN’s chief worldwide correspondent Clarissa Ward advised CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter on “Dependable Sources” Sunday. “They have been doing daring and unbelievable reporting for a few years, and now there is a very actual worry that they may face retaliations for that or that actually they will not be capable to do their work anymore.”

At the very least three female Afghan journalists have been murdered this 12 months, in response to Reporters With out Borders (RSF), whereas one was shot lifeless by a gunman in December 2020.

“RSF is deeply involved that the troop withdrawal will create an data vacuum and that the house for journalism will dwindle or disappear fully,” mentioned RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire final month. “It’s completely clear that there will probably be no lasting peace in Afghanistan with no purposeful dedication to the safety of journalists and to press freedom from the authorities.”

Many impartial newsrooms in Afghanistan are “just about hunkered down for the time being,” Ward mentioned, including that “there’s a sense of actual concern that issues may get chaotic on the streets.”

Allthough “there is not any sense for the time being that Western journalists are being focused,” Ward mentioned that her CNN crew had moved their dwell shot location indoors to keep away from “probably attracting numerous consideration.”

Simply final month, Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters photographer, was killed in clashes close to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Siddiqui was the information company’s chief photographer in India, based mostly in Mumbai.

Issues stay excessive that native reporters will probably be focused for retaliation by the insurgents. “A few of these journalists and reporters know that they’ve a giant X on their backs … as a result of they’ve been so outspoken in opposition to the Taliban,” Ward mentioned.

CNN’s crews in Afghanistan are being “exceptionally cautious,” Ward mentioned, and can go away if crucial. However “for thus many Afghans, that is merely not an possibility. They’re right here, they’ve to remain, they must dwell with the results of this subsequent chapter.”

— Diksha Madhok contributed to this report.