Kabul [Afghanistan], April 7 (ANI): Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Mette Knudsen met with media representatives of Afghanistan on Wednesday and extended support to Afghanistan's embattled media sector and journalists.
Knudsen urged the Taliban to start a dialogue with the media in the country and end draconian measures launched against them.
"UN's support to Afghanistan's embattled media sector and journalists stressed today as @metknu met @ArianaNews _@pajhwok @Shamshadnetwork @TOLOnews@1TVNewsAFeditors. Taliban urged to start a dialogue with media, end draconian measures and Protect Journalists from threats and violence," the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tweeted.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) last month said that the Taliban have intensified attacks on media in the country.
"It's so hard to report from Afghanistan anymore," a journalist in the eastern province of Nangarhar said. "Anything can happen, you could be arrested, beaten, tortured or even killed, just for a report or a program," said Fereshta Abbasi, Afghanistan researcher at HRW.
In a report, Abbasi said, on March 28, security officers from the Taliban's General Directorate of Intelligence raided the offices of four radio stations in the southern city of Kandahar for violating a ban on music and detained six journalists.
All were released only after they promised they would never broadcast music again. "I want to leave this job," one said. "Being a journalist has always been my dream job but not anymore," according to the report.
On the same day, Taliban authorities banned outlets in Afghanistan from broadcasting international news programs, including Voice of America and the BBC, in Dari, Pashto, and Uzbek languages. This new restriction is the latest Taliban measure to limit access to independent information, HRW reported.
According to the journalists, Taliban intelligence officials hold regular meetings with the media to inform them of any new rules. In some cases, journalists have reported that they have been harassed, beaten, and arbitrarily detained without explanation. (ANI)