New Delhi: As Taliban surge continues in Afghanistan, the extremist militia is imposing strict restrictions on the media, forcing some local outlets to either stop their work or convert into propaganda mouthpieces, according to reports.
Taliban, which is a proxy of Pakistan, is notorious for repression, especially the hard clampdown on free media, which was witnessed when it ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
The Taliban is capturing more and more areas of Afghanistan while the US forces are leaving the war-torn nation.
“All media outlets in Kunduz will stop their activities if the situation prevails for another one month,” Hedayatullah Ziarmal, head of Uranus TV network in Kunduz, was quoted by TOLO News of Afghanistan.
“Some of our colleagues have left the city. More people are expected to leave. This inflicts major damage to Afghan media,” said Zabihullah Mujadadadi, head of Kunduz media center.
NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said some local radio stations in a number of districts that have fallen to the Taliban have now changed to a “propaganda source” for the outfit.
“They change local radio as tools for their propaganda,” said NAI CEO Mujib Khalwatgar.
A few days back, US Embassy in Kabul also took note of this development and slammed the Taliban for shutting down media outlets in their areas.
“I am disturbed by reports that the Taliban is shutting down media organizations in the districts they assault, attempting to conceal their violence in a press blackout,” the US’ Acting Ambassador in Kabul, Ian McCary said.
“It seems they seek to silence media to hide their destruction of public infrastructure, looting, and killings of Afghan civilians and soldiers,” he added.
According to the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, from 35 journalists who were working as women journalists in Ghazni and Baghlan, only two of them are working from home.
“They have said that your radio can air the things that we (Taliban) want, not music,” said Farida Nikzad, head of the watchdog.
“We call on the warring parties not to limit activities of media outlets and let them continue their work based on the gains that we have made in freedom of the press,” Afghan journalist Sayed Nisar Jalali said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told TOLO news that they will regulate specific criteria for media outlets whenever they overrun cities.