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Afghan Journalists Appeal For Help To Prevent Journalism From Dying

Many Afghan journalists are now in hiding. (file photo)

More than 100 Afghan journalists have appealed to the international community for help in protecting press freedom in Afghanistan.

The journalists made their appeal through Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which issued the appeal and a news release on September 18.

The appeal was signed anonymously by a politically diverse group of 103 Afghan journalists, including 20 women. Most still work in Afghanistan, though some are in hiding and 10 are in exile.

“We are all forced to remain anonymous to make this appeal, because of the risks to our lives. We do not want journalism to die out in Afghanistan, as was the case between 1996 and 2001,” the journalists said in their appeal.

The journalists said the most urgent need is for guarantees of protection, especially for female journalists.

Frequent attacks on members of the press and Taliban interference in their work has led them to fear the worst, the journalists said.

“Despite the Taliban's public commitments, we are seeing the first concrete signs of general repression,” they said. This includes threats against journalists on the ground, intimidation of editorial staff, and disguised censorship.

They call for “a mobilization for press freedom in our country, for the preservation of the achievements of the last 20 years with regard to the independence of the media, pluralism, and the protection of journalists.”

The journalists urged support to enable Afghan newsrooms to continue working and said in the short term they need diplomatic and financial support for journalists in danger.

Based on reporting by dpa