Self-exiled Afghan journalists left in the lurch in Pakistan


June 29, 2022

Islamabad- A number of Afghan journalists including women, who fled from Afghanistan after it was taken over by the Taliban last year in August are awaiting help from international organizations to settle them in different countries. They have intensely criticized the negligence of institutions supporting journalists and human rights organizations.

Living in hostels and rented houses in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, many of them say that they are running out of their savings, time, and options. They were promised to be taken to some European countries, the US, or Canada but have been now left unattended in Pakistan.

According to Hasht-e Subh Daily, at a meeting held on Monday in Islamabad, these journalists said that they have been forced to leave the country because of threats, raising their deep concerns that they are in a dire mental state and have been forgotten by the institutions supporting journalists and human rights defenders.

“The chapter on freedom of expression and a democratic and free media in Afghanistan has been closed and the media has fallen into the trap of extremism,” they said in a statement.

The journalists further said: “We, a group of journalists, have been dealing with many problems in a miserable situation in neighboring Pakistan for months; unfortunately, no country or international organization has responded to our voice.”

At the same time, they have once again called on institutions supporting journalists and human rights organizations to respond to their demands and hear their voices.

Journalists in exile have also called on international organizations to work for the release of journalists imprisoned by the Taliban and not to ignore the Taliban’s anti-freedom of expression and media actions.

In the meantime, they have called on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Pakistan to give priority to the immigration case of vulnerable groups and journalists

Since the collapse of the former government in August 2021, thousands of Afghans, including journalists, human rights activists, and civil society, have been displaced to neighboring countries.

Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC) continues to urge the international community to support the safe resettlement of at-risk Afghan journalists, and media workers both within Afghanistan or stuck in limbo within other countries and grant them refugee status or subsidiary protection status.