10 Afghan radio stations went silent in 6 months

KABUL (Tolo News): NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said that at least ten radio stations have halted work in Afghanistan in less than six months due to security threats and the financial recession.

According to NAI, in 2020, 130 incidents of violence were reported against the journalists in Afghanistan, which shows a 10 percent increase compared to 2019. Rukhsar Jasoor was a journalist affiliated with the state-run RTA news agency in Baghlan province. But Rukhsar has now fled Baghlan and settled in Kabul due to security threats.

“I came hear to raise my voice about the concerns which exist among the people in Baghlan because of security threats and their negative impact on the lives of female journalists in Baghlan,” said Jasoor. At the same time, there are some other journalists who defy threats and continue their work.

“Threats are causing the collapse of freedom of speech and it threatens intellectual immunity,” said Farheen Irfan, a journalist in Kabul. “Violence has increased against journalists, violence increased by 10 percent in 2020 compared to 2019,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the head of NAI. 11 cases of murder, 16 cases of injuries, 13 cases of beating, 3 cases summoning, 3 attacks on media outlets, 5 cases of kidnapping, 23 cases of insults and 4 cases of assassination attempts were reported against the journalists in 2020.

“The government has the ability to provide security, but the problem is that there is no will in the government to use that ability,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the head of NAI. “If the Afghan govt, the international community, donor nations to Afghanistan and those countries which are facilitating peace process do not take serious action, the gains that Afghanistan has made in the areas of press freedom in the past 20 years will be eliminated,” said Sediqullah Tawhidi, a journalist.

“The security of all citizens, particularly journalists, has major significance to us,” said Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. Currently there are 190 audiovisual media outlets working in Afghanistan including 250 print media outlets. Statistics by the media supporting organizations show that since 2014, 100 media outlets have stopped operation in Afghanistan.