Afghan journalists are ‘absolutely petrified’ amid the Taliban takeover

The Committee to Guard Journalists has warned that Afghan journalists experience extraordinary risks amid the Taliban takeover. On Sunday, the militants took regulate of the presidential palace in Kabul following President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Suspected Taliban fighters killed an Afghan radio station supervisor in Kabul final 7 days, according to Reuters, intensifying fear between journalists in the local community.

Afghan journalists, particularly ladies, are “absolutely petrified,” CNN’s main worldwide correspondent Clarissa Ward told CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter on “Reputable Sources” Sunday. “They have been performing bold and remarkable reporting for lots of yrs, and now there is a very genuine fear that they may face retaliations for that or that undoubtedly they will not be in a position to do their do the job anymore.”

At the very least three feminine Afghan journalists have been murdered this yr, in accordance to Reporters With no Borders (RSF), even though 1 was shot useless by a gunman in December 2020.

“RSF is deeply anxious that the troop withdrawal will build an data vacuum and that the space for journalism will dwindle or disappear fully,” stated RSF secretary-standard Christophe Deloire final month. “It is unquestionably crystal clear that there will be no lasting peace in Afghanistan with out a purposeful dedication to the safety of journalists and to press independence from the authorities.”

Many independent newsrooms in Afghanistan are “pretty a lot hunkered down at the minute,” Ward said, including that “there is a sense of genuine worry that factors could get chaotic on the streets.”

Allthough “there’s no feeling at the instant that Western journalists are staying focused,” Ward reported that her CNN crew had moved their live shot location indoors to stay clear of “perhaps attracting a great deal of notice.”

Just very last thirty day period, Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-profitable Reuters photographer, was killed in clashes around Kandahar, Afghanistan. Siddiqui was the information agency’s main photographer in India, centered in Mumbai.

Concerns continue being significant that community reporters will be focused for retaliation by the insurgents. “Some of these journalists and reporters know that they have a major X on their backs … for the reason that they have been so outspoken towards the Taliban,” Ward claimed.

CNN’s crews in Afghanistan are remaining “extremely cautious,” Ward explained, and will depart if required. But “for so a lot of Afghans, that is merely not an alternative. They are right here, they have to remain, they have to stay with the consequences of this subsequent chapter.”

— Diksha Madhok contributed to this report.