Support Afghan journalists
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, urges members to donate to the IFJ Afghanistan Safety Fund.
Since the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August last year, journalists in Afghanistan have faced huge pressures and challenges in the course of their work and daily lives. The NUJ has repeatedly condemned the targeting of journalists and ongoing media crackdown in the country preventing press freedom.
Under Taliban rule, journalists face arbitrary detention and attacks for their reporting, with women journalists banned from revealing their faces on air, and offered positions with poorer terms and conditions including less pay than male counterparts.
Intimidation, harassment and forced detention has led to an exodus of journalists with an estimated 1000 fleeing the country. The IFJ reports 12 murders of journalists and 75 media rights violations in its South Asia Press Freedom report.
Last year NUJ members rallied to the union’s fundraising appeal in great numbers, donating directly to the IFJ’ s special Afghan appeal for its Safety Fund. Individual journalists and their families have been supported, with shelter and food. Many journalists at grave risk have been helped as they fled the country, but the need is still immense, and those funds have been exhausted.
The NUJ is backing the IFJ’s global appeal to save at-risk Afghan media workers and is urging members to show their support once more, through donations. All donations, of whatever size, will collectively make a big difference and help this vital work and all funds raised by the IFJ go directly to those in need.
The NUJ continues to lobby and pressure the UK and Irish governments to do all they can to ease and extend visa processes for Afghan journalists in need. These include many journalists who worked for international media outlets – such as those who formerly worked for the BBC – and are at particular risk from the Taliban because of their perceived links to the west.
Governments must do more to accommodate and support all Afghan journalists, who continue to uphold and champion the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and press freedom, even in the face of serious oppression.
IFJ newsletter: Afghanistan special
Marking one year since Taliban control, the IFJ consider events in Afghanistan, the solidarity of its affiliates worldwide, and the bravery of Afghan journalists. It renews its call for governments and the international community to act now to save Afghanistan's journalists. Read the newsletter.