Afghanistan media assistance

On 30th September 2021 GFMD hosted an Afghanistan assistance coordination meeting in Tirana, Albania Three journalists from Afghanistan presented the current situation and spoke what assistance is nee

On October 2nd the Global Forum for Media Development issued a statement calling for the international community to take urgent steps to support journalism in Afghanistan - GFMD Calls for Urgent Support for Afghanistan Journalists.

The statement followed an event on the evening of 30th September where three journalists from Afghanistan shared their experience of seeking exile in Albania and the persecution and hardship that Afghan journalists are facing.

One of the journalists told the meeting:

“We are concerned about the destruction of the Afghan media community's achievements over the past two decades. In the last month, more than 150 media outlets have closed. The Taliban detained, beaten and tortured dozens of journalists.

More than 100 journalists were forced to leave Afghanistan.

Among these journalists are the best, most experienced, and well-known Afghan journalists.

Some of those who remained in the country lost their jobs, and others are being forced to follow the Taliban's illegal orders and continue their journalistic work with fear and trembling.

The pressure and threat on the Afghan media community are too high and so, self-censorship among journalists in Afghanistan has reached its peak.

Afghanistan had the most unique and democratic and free media system in the region but currently, there is no longer free and independent journalism in Afghanistan.”

The Afghan journalists outlined the actions that are required to save Afghan journalism, protect lives, and provide the means for the continuation of the necessary provision of credible information to the people of Afghanistan.

The priorities articulated by the Afghan journalists who spoke at the meeting were for governments, donors, and multilateral organisations to:

Put pressure on the Taliban government to ensure the safety of journalists, stop harassment, especially of female journalists and their families.

Make the new government accountable to provide freedom of information gathering and information dissemination efforts of Afghan journalists in Afghanistan.

Make these elements conditions for recognition and engagement efforts with the Taliban government.

Provide continued technical and financial assistance to Afghan media outlets and journalists.

The GFMD statement called on states that support free expression, independent media, and human rights to immediately engage in the following three urgent actions:

Provide technical and financial support to Afghan media outlets and journalists to overcome the immediate economic crisis facing media outlets and Afghan journalists and their families.

Re-purpose development and assistance resources to support evacuated Afghan journalists so they can provide necessary independent information to the Afghan public.

Provide immediate resettlement for Afghan journalists that are in life-threatening danger and/or work with states willing to provide interim shelter to provide assistance in that effort, including funding for temporary settlement.

Support for journalists and the Afghan media community:

The international community and international journalists and media support organizations should continue their technical and financial assistance and support to the Afghan media.

The safety and security of Afghan journalists should be a priority of all of us.

Financial assistance to journalists who have lost their jobs.

Action should be taken as soon as possible to evacuate journalists whose lives are in danger and who have remained in the country.

International institutions and countries put political pressure on the Taliban to recognize and respect freedom of expression, human rights and media freedoms.

The cases of journalists who were beaten and tortured by the Taliban should be investigated by impartial international organizations.

Provide conditions for continuing the work of journalists and media outlets outside Afghanistan.

Journalists in Afghanistan do not have access to online and in-person training courses such as cyber and digital security, crisis coverage, safety tips, and Resilience. We can hold these courses for them here.

Support for Afghan journalists in exile

Provide internships and professional jobs for Afghan journalists in the Albanian media.

Hold short-term and long-term courses to increase the capacity and skills of Afghan journalists in Albania. Specifically master and PhD studies.

Provide research fellowships for journalism professors and outstanding journalists who are in Albania at the Albanian media institutes and universities.

Establish a multimedia newsroom with media equipment for Afghan journalists in Albania to freely and independently cover Afghan news and increase public awareness in a situation where the Afghan people do not have access to accurate and free information. By creating a news website, we can publish reports and news from Afghanistan and publish the reports of journalists inside Afghanistan under a pseudonym.

Conduct academic research projects to study the attitudes and perceptions of Afghan immigrants in Europe or other topics.

Afghan journalists in Albania can transfer their experiences from war and crisis reporting to journalists and journalism students in Albania and other countries. Providing visiting programs for Afghan Journalists to visit the media outlets and journalism schools in Albania.

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