AFJC Demands Release of Three Media Heads, Journalist in Khost

From right to left: Sarwar Miakhil, head of Gharghasht Radio and TV, Mohammaduddin Shah Khiali, head of Radio Wolas, Pamir Andish, head of Radio Cheenar, and Abdul Rahman Ashna, a reporter for Radio Nan, were detained on May 8, 2023

May 9, 2023

Khost- The Afghanistan Journalists Center expresses its concerns over the detention of three media heads and a reporter detained in southern Khost province and calls for their immediate release.

Sakhi Sarwar Miakhil, editor-in-chief of Gharghasht Radio and TV, Mohammaduddin Shah Khiali, editor-in-chief of Radio Volas Ghag, Pamir Andish, editor-in-chief of Radio Cheenar and Abdul Rahman Ashna, a reporter for Radio Nan, were detained by the department of Virtue and Vice in Khost.

A journalist from Jalalabad who asked to remain anonymous due to security concerns said that these media employees were summoned and arrested by the Department of Virtue and Vice on Mondy afternoon. The source added that the Department of Virtue and Vice accused the media outlets of not adhering to the "Islamic Emirate's" media principles in their media programs. Another source said that local officials had warned these media outlets about broadcasting music, and it is likely that the main reason for the detentions of these four media employees is for playing music during their recent programs.

Describing this, Shabir Ahmad Osmani, the head of information and culture for the "Islamic Emirate" in Khost, said that the media workers “have not been arrested, but have been called to account for sharing some important issues.”

AFJC said:” We express our serious concern over the detentions of the media outlets head and a reporter in Khost and call on the authorities to release them immediately and allow the media to work freely.”

 According to Afghanistan’s mass media law, journalists are free to carry out their professional duties, and authorities have no right to interfere in their work.

AFJC last week welcomed the release of freelance sports reporter Khairullah Parhar who had been in Taliban custody for about four months.  AFJC has documented a total of at least 213 press freedom violations including 70 arrests of journalists in Afghanistan since World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2022, out of which an Afghan-French reporter Mortaza Behboudi who was detained in Kabul on January 7, 2023, is still in prison.