Protect Afghanistan’s journalists

“I am deeply concerned about the reports of house searches and beatings targeting media and of the killings of family members of journalists. We call for the Taliban to uphold its recent commitment to allow a free and independent media at a time when Afghanistan’s people desperately need accurate news and information,” says Jesper Højberg, director of IMS (International Media Support)

“Here and now, we fear for the safety of media workers, in particular women and minority journalists. We strongly hope to see that the positive developments over the past almost two decades, in terms of a more diverse media landscape, women journalists being able to work and a dialogue on how to strengthen freedom of expression, will remain intact,” Jesper Højberg states.

For years, Afghanistan has been one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, and IMS has been operative for two decades, building up a safety system and knowledge in close collaboration with partners on the ground.

Despite the dramatic circumstances, IMS continues to work with our close partner Afghan Journalists Safety Committee in order to provide safety assistance to journalists in the country. Susanna Inkinen, programme manager for Afghanistan says:

“The pressure on media workers right now is immense. The messaging from the Taliban has been that press freedom will be upheld, but we await to see to which extend it holds true in their actions. Many journalists remain in hiding due to fear of what will happen next. Just the last few days we have seen examples of raids of media houses and journalists’ homes, which yesterday led to a killing of a family member of an Afghan journalist residing in Germany. Other reporters have received severe beatings for covering the events in the streets, while others again are receiving threats from the Taliban through messaging services.”

IMS’ response:

  • Building on two decades of experience in safety for Afghan journalists: Providing shelter for journalists, continuing giving trainings, offering trauma support and ensuring food and other commodities.
  • Ensuring that Afghan media can still operate and provide information to the population, also long term, by providing Afghan media organisations – including exile media – immediate and ongoing support. IMS’ work also encompasses a focus on monitoring media content to assess the impact of the Taliban takeover regarding changes in reporting and potential censorship, as well as countering mis- and disinformation from all parties.
  • Encourage the ongoing work to support freedom of expression by following the roadmap, which was developed in 2020 as a part of peace process negotiations.

IMS’ close partner AJSC (Afghan Journalists Safety Committee) needs funds to bring journalists to safety and keep independent media outlets operational. You can make a donation here.