Afghan journalists’ open letter to world: ‘Protect us’

KABUL (Tolo News): Afghan journalists, cameramen and photographers in an open letter called on the United Nations, the international community, human rights organizations and media-supporting organizations to protect them against threats. The letter was published and signed by 150 reporters.
“Considering the increasing challenges and threats facing media workers, as well as their families and property, we urge the United Nations and donor countries to take action to save our lives and our families,” the letter reads. A number of media employees said that the world must not just stand back and watch the situation but should take action to defend Afghan journalists who have worked tirelessly over the past two decades for freedom of speech.
“At this crucial moment, the world instead of watching must take action to save our lives and those of our families,” said reporter Ahmad Navid Kawosh. “We are living in uncertainty. We do not know what will happen to us and our future. The world countries must hear our voice,” said reporter Rafiullah Nikzad.
The letter comes following the collapse of the former Afghan government on August 15 and as numerous reporters and media staff–mainly females–are no longer working and living in uncertainty. Nazifa Ahmadi, a female reporter, is one among dozens of female reporters who is no longer working since her media company shut down. Ahmadi says she has been the only breadwinner and does not know how she will feed her family.
“The fate of numerous reporters is not known. The Taliban should let female media staff work because most of them are the only breadwinners for their families,” she said. Following the evacuation process that started at Kabul airport, thousands of people rushed to save their lives, including journalists. Three Afghan journalists were among those killed in the attacks on Kabul international airport last Thursday.
Meanwhile, Afghan media media workers have also launched a social media campaign calling on international organizations to address their challenges and make their fate clear. Meanwhile, a number of owners and officials of media companies say that access information has been completely limited following the collapse of the Ghani administration. According to some, no official source is responding to media inquiries.
“The situation for media is worrying. No one is responding to us and this situation has created many obstacles for reporters,” said Ehsanullah Sahak, editor in chief of Kabul News. The concerns raised by Afghan journalists come as the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid recently announced that the media can continue its activities while observing Islamic law and maintaining impartiality.