Taliban detains 4 Afghan journalists in Khost province
CPJ (09.05.2023) – The Taliban must immediately release four journalists recently detained for their work and cease harassing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On Monday, May 8, the provincial directorate of the Taliban-controlled Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the eastern province of Khost detained four journalists after summoning them for questioning, according to the exile-based media support group Afghanistan Journalists Center and the London-based broadcaster Afghanistan International.
Authorities accused the journalists of violating the Taliban’s media policies, according to the AFJC report, which cited an anonymous source that did not specify which policies they allegedly violated. CPJ could not immediately determine where the journalists are being held.
“The Taliban must immediately release four journalists recently detained in Khost province and stop the harassment and intimidation of the press in Afghanistan,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The Taliban must abide by its own promise to protect press freedom. The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice should be held accountable for its crackdown on journalists.”
Those sources identified the journalists as Sakhi Sarwar Miakhel, editor-in-chief of the privately owned Gharghast Radio and TV; Mohammad ud Din Shah Khiali, editor-in-chief of the privately owned Wolas Ghag Radio; Pamir Andish Mohaidi, editor-in-chief of the privately owned Chinar Radio; and Abdul Rahman Ashna, a reporter with the privately owned broadcaster Nan FM.
Shabir Ahmad Osmani, the Taliban’s director of information and public affairs in Khost, said the journalists had been summoned so authorities could share “some important issues” with them, and denied that they had been detained, according to AFJC.
CPJ contacted Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid for comment via messaging app but did not receive any response.
Afghanistan’s independent media have come under increasing pressure since the Taliban took back control of the country in 2021. On March 31, Taliban authorities shut down the women-run broadcaster Radio Sada e Banowan for allegedly playing music, which the Taliban banned after its return to power.
Photo credits: Ahmad Sahel Arman/AFP