Report: Taliban issues 13 directives in 2 years, restricts media freedom

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KABUL: Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan two years ago, they have deliberately issued 13 directives to restrict media freedom and access to important information within the country, reported Khaama Press.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) has documented this trend over the past two years.

On the occasion of International Day for Universal Access to Information, the AFJC issued a statement on Thursday highlighting the Taliban’s “disregard” for Afghanistan’s access to information law.

Over the past two years, Afghanistan has observed a significant decline in media activities and an “unprecedented regression in the realm of access to information,” the AFJC stated.

The Taliban issued various directives, which are detailed in the AFJC’s report. The first directive issued by the Taliban is the prevention of women working in radio and television, including a ban on female employees of the state-owned National Television in Kabul, reported Khaama Press.

They also prohibited broadcasting women’s voices in some cities. Accordingly, the Taliban’s Information and Culture Department in Helmand warned that under no circumstances should women’s voices be broadcast.

Another directive was prohibiting media coverage of protests and civil demonstrations on the media.

As the Taliban took over Afghanistan, they imposed a ban on all forms of demonstrations and stated that any incidents resulting from these protests would be the responsibility of the violators.

Additionally, the Taliban also restricted people from accessing information.

According to Khaama Press, the Taliban’s media authority issued these regulations in 11 articles in September 2021. Other directives imposed by the Taliban included prohibiting the publication of content conflicting with Islam, insulting national figures, violating national and personal sanctities, and publishing reports under the Taliban’s media centre.

Furthermore, compelling the recognition of the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan under the title of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” is another restriction imposed by the Taliban on the media. So far, no country has officially recognized this group, reported Khaama Press.

The Taliban also deemed gender segregation in the media mandatory, requiring male and female hosts to appear in separate environments and with separate programs.

Moreover, the Taliban’s Ministry of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has forbidden to hold interviews with opponents and critics of the Taliban in the media.

Due to this directive by the Taliban, the heads of four private television networks in Kabul, including TOLO News, 1TV, Ariana and Shammshad were summoned to the Taliban’s Information and Culture Department.

Meanwhile, there was also a ban on working with “banned” media, reported Khaama Press.

The AFJC has raised concerns and stressed that these restrictions have severely affected media operations. (ANI)

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