Wed, 17 Aug 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], August 4 (ANI): Over 200 media outlets have ceased operations in Afghanistan and 7,000 media workers have lost their jobs since the Taliban seized power in August last year while the country's economy continues to shrink.

Expressing concerns over the deteriorating situation of Afghan media, the Afghanistan Federation of Journalists and Media noted that they had made suggestions to the international community and the Islamic Emirate about the protection of media workers, but the problem has not been solved till date, Tolo News reported.

According to officials of media in Takhar province, nine out of the region's 13 media outlets have closed as a result of economic challenges.

"In the last year, out of 544 media outlets, 218 of them were closed, and out of 1200 media workers, 7000 of them lost their jobs," said Hujatullah Mujaddidi, the Head of the Free Association of Afghan Journalists said.

Moreover, several officials from the media said that they are unable to pay their employees' salaries due to the poor economy.

"Takhar's local media is facing economic challenges, it has lost its staff and its activities stopped," said Abdul Sami Khawari, stated the director of a media outlet in Takhar.

"We had seven employees here, due to economic challenges we have laid them off," said another media outlet owner, Sadrudin Qunarai to Tolo News.

The Afghan media community continues to face overwhelming challenges under the brutal regime of the Taliban. Numerous organizations were forced to shut down due to economic collapse, threats and draconian reporting restrictions since the Islamist outfit came to power. Thousands of journalists and media professionals, especially women, have lost their jobs.

"Most of the journalists who have lost their jobs cannot provide food for their families," said Parween Iqbally, a journalist.

According to the Afghanistan Federation of Journalists and Media, more than 2,800 women were employed in the Afghan media before the Islamic Emirate came to power, but more than 2,100 of them have lost their jobs as a result of several factors in the last year.

In a recent survey conducted by IFJ-affiliate Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU) across 33 provinces, shows 318 media have closed since 15 August 2021. The crisis has hit newspapers the hardest with just 20 out of 114 continuing to publish. 51 TV stations, 132 radio stations and 49 online media have ceased operations according to the report compiled for the IFJ.

72 per cent of those who have lost their jobs are women, IFJ said in a release.

As per the report, released by United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), human rights violations affected 173 journalists and media workers, 163 of which were attributed to the de facto authorities.

Among these were 122 instances of arbitrary arrest and detention, 58 instances were of ill-treatment, 33 instances of threats and intimidation and 12 instances of incommunicado detention. Six journalists were also killed during the period (five by self-identified ISIS Khorasan, one by unknown perpetrators).

According to some media-supporting organizations, over 70 per cent of media outlets halted their operations since the Taliban came to power. (ANI)

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