Taliban shuts down two news websites in Afghanistan

October 3, 2022

Kabul- The closure of the websites of Hasht-e-Subh (8am) newspaper and Zawia News is another sign of the tightening of restrictions against free media in Afghanistan. We urge the authorities to reverse their decision and allow the news websites to operate under their internet domain names, the Afghanistan Journalists Centersaid Monday.

The Taliban’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced on Monday that has shut down the websites of Hasht-e-Subh daily and Zawia News in Afghanistan on charges of what they called “spreading false propaganda”.

The two media platforms had been active on domain names registered in Afghanistan.

Earlier,  Hasht-e-Subh in a statement had announced that the Ministry of Telecommunications of the Taliban had deactivated the domain of the daily’s website. The newspaper confirmed that it had been using the 8am.af domain for the past 15 years.

Hasht-e-Subh added that it is online through a different domain name and address now.

AFJC said: “According to Afghanistan’s Mass Media law, such behavior is considered a restriction and censorship on media broadcasting affairs and a sign of the tightening of restrictions against free media in the country.” “Taliban authorities must reverse their decision as soon as possible and cease fabricating spurious reasons to suppress the free press.”

AFJC said: “We urge the authorities to allow Hasht-e Subh Daily and Zawia News to operate under their internet domain names and If they have any grievances or found the reports biased, they could pursue the issue via the Media Complaints and Violations Investigation Commission.”

According to the AFJC’s report on the state of media freedom in Afghanistan during the first year of Taliban rule notices a significant increase in cases of violation of media freedom and the closure of almost half of media outlets in the country.

The report indicates that over half of 600 media outlets, including radio and television, print and online, have ceased operations and over 60% of journalists and media employees have not been able to work after the Taliban took power.