AFJC condemns Taliban Bans on VOA, RFE/RL Radio in Afghanistan


December 2, 2022

Kabul—The Afghanistan Journalists Center Condemns the Taliban authorities’ decision to ban FM radio broadcasts from Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) stations in Afghanistan as a serious infringement of media freedom.

Abdul Haq Hammad, an official at the Taliban’s Information Ministry, said in a tweet on December 1 that the move was made “due to noncompliance with journalistic principles and one-sided broadcasts.”

VOA and RFE/RL are U.S. government-funded news organizations that operate with journalistic independence and used the same FM frequencies for round-the-clock broadcasts in Persian/Dari and Pashto languages. VOA’s mediumwave and shortwave transmissions broadcast on transmitters based outside the country will continue to reach Afghan listeners.

The crackdown on VOA and RFE/RL follows the Taliban’s ban on foreign television programs in March. BBC News, VoA, DW, and CGTN were taken off the air in Afghanistan following a crackdown by the Taliban on foreign media.

VOA’s Ashna TV news shows, which had been broadcast on Afghan National Television, Tolo, ToloNews, and Lamar for a decade, VOA Pashto reported. Many VOA programs are anchored by women. The Taliban have banned women from appearing on television without covering their faces.

According to the VOA, the Taliban ban also affected VOA’s FM transmissions based in Afghanistan that reach Pashto-speaking listeners in Pakistan.
AFJC said:” This latest move is another stark reminder of the continued threats media face and another example of the Taliban’s desire to starve the public of critical journalism.”

AFJC said: "We denounce the decision by the Islamic Emirate authorities to ban VOA and Azadi Radio in Afghanistan, it is a serious infringement of global media freedom. We support the efforts of independent media to continue their fair and independent reporting, and urge the Islamic Emirate’s authorities to retract these restrictions so citizens at home have access to credible and impartial journalism.”