A total of 231 media outlets (40 per cent) in Afghanistan has closed since the country’s takeover by the Taliban on August 15, leading to many journalists losing their jobs, according to a survey conducted by two non-profits.
The survey by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) has also revealed that 80 per cent of female journalists and media workers have become unemployed due to restrictions imposed by the Taliban-led government, reports TOLO news.
“A total of 231 media outlets have had to close and more than 6.400 journalists have lost their jobs since August 15. Women journalists have been hit the hardest, with four out of five no longer working,” the survey says.
According to the RSF and AIJA, of the 543 media outlets operating since the beginning of this year, only 312 were still functions by the end of November.
“More than four out of every 10 media outlets have disappeared and 60 per cent of journalists and media employees are no longer able to work. Women have suffered much more than men: 84 per cent of them have lost their jobs,” the survey report reads.
According to the non-profits, there were at least 10 private media organisations operating in most of the provinces in Afghanistan before the fall of Kabul.
“There used to be 10 media outlets in the mountainous northern province of Parwan but now just three are functioning. In the western city of Herat (the country’s third largest) and the surrounding province, only 18 of the 51 media outlets are still operating – a 65 per cent fall.
“The central Kabul region, which had more media that anywhere else, has not been spared the carnage. It has lost more than one of every two media outlets (51 per cent). Of the 148 tallied prior to August 15, only 72 are still operating,” TOLO News quoted the survey as further saying.
RSF and AIJA have said that new restrictions imposed on media outlets, especially female reporters, and the economic and financial challenges are the two main reasons behind the closing of media outlets and female reporters becoming unemployed.
“The dangerous ‘Journalism Rules’ open the way to censorship and persecution, and deprive journalists of their independence, forcing them to tell information and culture ministry officials what they would like to cover, get their permission to go ahead and finally inform them about the results of their reporting in order to be able to publish.”
“There is an urgent need to rein in the spiral leading inevitably to the disappearance of Afghan media and to ensure that respect for press freedom is a priority,” TOLO News quoted Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan bureau, as saying.