Afghanistan: abducted journalist released by Taliban

  • 25 Jul 2023

An increase in arbitrary arrests and intimidation of journalists under Taliban rule has been condemned by the NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists.  

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has joined the International Federation of Journalists in welcoming the release of Irfanullah Bidar following his arrest by the Taliban. 

On 12 July, Bidar was abducted outside a mosque in Jalabad and had a bag placed over his head while being forced into a vehicle.  His family were unable to contact him during his disappearance and were provided with no information by Taliban authorities on reasons for his arrest.

Although the journalist has since been released, the Talban’s General Directorate of Intelligence responsible for his arrest, has issued no statement.

Journalists in Afghanistan have faced growing media restrictions since the Taliban gained power in 2021. Next month marks the two year anniversary of Taliban control and the NUJ has been vocal in its condemnation of arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists. Women journalists in the country have battled hostile attitudes and restrictions on clothing, alongside strict rules on roles they are permitted to undertake within the media.

The IFJ has highlighted “a growing Afghan diaspora, with hundreds escaping to neighbouring Iran, Pakistan or beyond” as Taliban authorities continue to wield power, frequently intimidating and harassing journalists.

The IFJ said:

“The all too common disappearances, arrests, and attacks suffered by media workers under Taliban rule continue to quash press freedom and create a highly dangerous environment for journalists doing their jobs. The IFJ condemns Irfanullah Bidar’s detention and urges the Taliban to release all jailed journalists and cease its intimidation of Afghanistan's media.”

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