February 6, 2023
Paris- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 15 French media outlets and production companies with which Mortaza Behboudi has worked are calling on the Taliban regime to release the French-Afghan reporter who has been imprisoned for a month in Kabul.
We remained silent for 30 days about the detention of Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist with French and Afghan dual nationality who is being held in a prison in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Today, we are letting the world know that he was arrested in Kabul one month ago, on 7 January, in the hope that he will be released as quickly as possible and will be able to return to France. For the past month, we have done everything possible, in various capacities, to obtain his release. His imprisonment is truly absurd.
Behboudi began his career as a photojournalist at the age of 16 in Afghanistan, the country of his birth. When he was 21, he fled to France because he had been threatened, and was given a refuge in the Maison des Journalistes (Journalists’ Home) in Paris. Along with other exiled journalists, he created a news website called Guiti News. He soon began freelancing for French and Francophone media outlets including France Télévisions, TV5 Monde, Arte, Radio France, Mediapart, Libération and La Croix. He co-authored a series of reports called Across Afghanistan under the Taliban that was published by Mediapart and was awarded the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents and the French National Daily Varenne Prize. He contributed to a report entitled Young Afghan girls sold in order to survive that was broadcast by France 2 and was also awarded the Bayeux Prize in 2022.
Behboudi returned to Afghanistan for the purpose of reporting on 5 January and was arrested barely 48 hours later when was about to collect his press accreditation. On 15 January, his mobile phone called the assistance unit at Reporters Without Borders (RSF). As no message was left, it is impossible to know whether it was Behboudi who called or whether one of his jailers used his phone. Since then, no one has answered when his number is called. All we know is that after being held in a Kabul for 11 days for not showing his accreditation, he was transferred to another prison in Kabul and is said to be accused of spying.
We appeal to the Taliban government to end this senseless situation. Mortaza Behboudi is a well-known journalist, who is respected and appreciated by his media colleagues. We hope that our message will reach the Afghan capital and be heard in the offices of the authorities that took the decision to arrest him and who hold the key to his release. Messages have already been sent. RSF has opened a communication channel with the Taliban authorities.
We thank the French authorities for the efforts they have already made and we count on them to do everything possible in the future.
Stéphane Allies, Mediapart editorial co-director
Dov Aflon, Libération editorial director
Erik Berg, franceInfo TV director
Philippe Brachet, Arte Reportage editor-in-chief
Vanessa Burgraf, France 24 director
Jérôme Chapuis, La Croix editorial director
Sonia Delesalle-Stolper, Head of International Service at Libération
Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Grégoire Deniau, TV5MONDE editorial director
Carine Fouteau, Mediapart editorial co-director
Vincent Giret, director of news and sport at Radio France
Thomas Hofnung, Head of International Service at La Croix
Françoise Joly, TV5MONDE news director
Alexandre Kara, France Télévisions news director
Bernard de La Villardière, director of the production company Ligne de front
Elise Lucet, editor and presenter of the France 2 programme “Envoyé Spécial”
Elsa Margout, director of magazines at France Télévisions
Franck Mathevon, Radio France news director
Marco Nassivera, Arte TV news director
Philippe Pécoul, director of the TF1 evening news show “Sept à huit”
Edwy Plenel, Médiapart president
Muriel Pleynet, France Télévisions editorial director
Natacha Polony, Marianne editorial director
Harry Roselmack, Managing Director of HTO productions
Martin Weill, “Les Reportages de Martin Weill”, TMC