Jomhor News Agency closed down its office following Taliban threats


December 11, 2022

Kabul: The Jomhor News Agency says that it has closed its office in Kabul following repeated threats from the Taliban’s authorities. The Afghanistan Journalists Center, while expressing great concern over the closure of the Jomhor office, calls on the Taliban authorities to stop the increasing threats against the media in Afghanistan.

On Saturday, December 10, Jomhor News Agency announced that it was closing its main office in Afghanistan after receiving phone calls as well as threatening messages from the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence. According to the statement, the authorities ordered Jomhor news to remove analyzes and reports containing criticism of the Emirate's government from the website and its Facebook page.

Concerning the safety of the employees, the Jomhor News Agency says it decided to close its office in Kabul after 13 years of work. It is not yet clear how the news website will continue its activities after the decision to close its office.

On December 2, the Taliban authorities banned the FM radio broadcasts streaming from Voice of America (VOA) and Azadi radio, an Afghan extension of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, or RFE/RL, saying that they are stopped due to non-compliance with journalistic principles and one-sided broadcasts.

In September 2021, the Taliban's Government Media and Information Center (GMIC), announced a publishing/broadcasting guide containing 11 directives.  Several of the rules are similar to laws and editorial policies under former Afghanistan's elected government ousted by the Taliban. The main way they deviate is by eliminating references to international norms. Other rules give the Taliban wide control over the content. These include directives saying that media should coordinate with the GMIC when preparing content and report "carefully" on events not confirmed by an official

Under rules 1-3, media and journalists are forbidden from publishing or broadcasting anything against Islam, insulting national figures, or violating privacy.

AFJC said:” Imposing limitations on media on what to publish plainly mean censorship, it does not only create problems for journalists to do their job, which is providing information to the people but also violates freedom of expression and it is against the press freedom."

AFJC said: “Taliban authorities must ensure that media and journalists can freely cover events of public importance.”