World Press Freedom Day 2023: AFJC records 213 incidents of press freedom violations in a year

May 2, 2023

KABUL:  Afghanistan has witnessed a significant increase in incidents of press freedom violations amid rising restrictions for journalists and media outlets, the Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC) warned ahead of World Press Freedom Day 2023.

30 years after the adoption of World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations on "May,3rd”, and during the second year of the Islamic Emirate(Taliban) role in Afghanistan, violations against media freedoms continue to escalate dramatically in the country.

AFJC has documented a total of at least 213 incidents of violence, threats, and detention of journalists since the last World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2022, which is a sharp 64% percent to 130 incidents during May 2021-May 2022. The violent incidents include one death, 19 injuries that have been claimed by Daesh (IS-K), and the remaining incidents including 2 injuries, 6 physical harassments, 115 threats, and 70 arrests of journalists- out of which at least 2 reporters (Murtaza Behbudi and Khairullah Parhar) are still in custody- were committed by the Islamic Emirate(Taliban).

Though the Afghan media has developed significantly since 2001, the situation for journalists and the media in the country has never been so complicated, frightening, and ambiguous.

AFJC reiterated that press freedom and access to information are parts of the fundamental rights of the people and warned of the consequences of the increasing restrictions in this area by the Taliban-run administration.

AFJC said:” While no efforts were made to address impunity relating to crimes against journalists and Justice is awaited for most of the cases, AFJC calls for justice as well as an end to all forms of violation of press freedoms.” “We also call on the Taliban to implement the Afghan media laws including mass media and access to information laws to ensure press freedom in the country.”

The AFJC calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan journalists and help ensure their safety and media freedom and to increase its support for Afghanistan’s media, which will help press freedom and freedom of expression to be maintained.