NUJ calls on UK government to offer urgent assistance to Afghan media workers

  • 04 Aug 2021

UK media organisations have relied upon Afghan journalists, translators and support staff who are now in danger because of their work.

The NUJ has joined media organisations to call for government and international assistance for media workers threatened in Afghanistan by the Taliban.
A letter signed by the union, newspapers, broadcasters and media organisations to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary said that news reporting in the UK has been heavily reliant on the loyalty and commitment of Afghan journalists, translators and support staff.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating quickly and it is time for the authorities here to step up and offer support and assistance to those who are threatened."

The Taliban has targeted journalists including Helmand-based reporter Elyas Dayee, who was murdered last year, and more recently the Taliban mutilated the body of prize-winning Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui.
The NUJ is calling for a special Afghan visa programme for Afghan staff who have worked for the British media so that they and their families can leave Afghanistan and find safety. The letter said:

“If left behind, those Afghan journalists and media employees who have played such a vital role informing the British public by working for British media will be left at the risk of persecution, of physical harm, incarceration, torture, or death.

“The Biden Administration this week recognised the threat to journalists and media staff with US links, giving them access to its refugee programme for Afghans.”

The International Federation of Journalists  said that attacks, threats and censorship of journalists by the Afghan government and the Taliban had increased sharply since the withdrawal of foreign troops.
The NUJ continues to offer solidarity and support to the Afghanistan Independent Journalists' Association and the Afghanistan's National Journalists Union and their members.

Signatories to the letter:
The Daily Express
The Daily Mail
The Daily Telegraph
The Economist
The Financial Times
ITN (independent news provider for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5)
Mail on Sunday
Reporters Without Borders UK
Sky News
The Independent
The Frontline Club
The Guardian
The i
The Mirror
The Observer
The People
The Sunday Telegraph
The Sun / The Sun on Sunday
The Sunday Mirror
The Sunday Times
The Times
Tortoise Media

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