Media groups demand release of journalists held by Taliban, condemn suppression of press freedom News
© WikiMedia (Olgamielnikiewicz)
Media groups demand release of journalists held by Taliban, condemn suppression of press freedom

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged Taliban authorities in an official statement on Friday to immediately and unconditionally release three journalists apprehended in the provinces of Nangarhar, Paktia, and Kunduz.

On Thursday, Haseeb Hassas, a correspondent employed by Salam Watandar radio stationed in the northern province of Kunduz, was taken into custody. Simultaneously, Faqir Mohammad Faqirzai and Jan Agha Saleh, who were affiliated with Kalid Radio, an autonomous broadcasting entity, were similarly detained by Taliban security personnel in Jalalabad, the prominent city of the eastern Nangarhar Province. Operatives of the Taliban’s spy agency, the Islamic Emirate General Directorate of Intelligence detained Faqirzai, Saleh, and Hassas on allegations of contributing to exiled media outlets. However, the authorities have refrained from issuing an official statement on this matter.

“The detention of journalists Faqir Mohammad Faqirzai, Jan Agha Saleh, and Hasib Hassas just before the second anniversary of the fall of Kabul shows the Taliban is determined to continue their brutal crackdown on the media,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Taliban authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the three journalists and stop muzzling reporting, whether it is conducted for local media or the exiled press.”

These recent apprehensions mark a cumulative total of five journalists being held in detention this week. Currently, no fewer than nine journalists are being held in custody within the nation. Since the resurgence of the Taliban to power in 2021, there has been a noticeable intensification in the suppression of journalistic activities. The incarceration of these journalists has been met with condemnation from various media groups.

NAI, an Afghan media advocacy group, characterized these arbitrary arrests as a form of coercion against journalists in a statement released on August 11. “Arresting journalists weakens freedom of expression and demoralizes Afghan journalists.”, Afghanistan’s Independent Journalists Association asserted and echoed the same sentiment on the same day.