Among the tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee there are many journalists, who fear reprisals from Afghanistan’s new masters following the return to power of the Taliban.
Despite the promises of the Taliban, who keep repeating that they are more tolerant than in 2001, the Afghan media sector, which developed strongly after its fall, he fears for his future.
During the Taliban rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, there were no means as such.
The ultra-orthodox view of Islamic law they applied, he banned television for being immoral, cinema and many forms of leisure.
Commander Mohtasim Billah (C) of the Taliban special forces, in Kabul. Photo EFE
Those caught watching television were punished and their equipment destroyed. Owning a cassette player was punishable by public spanking.
For a time, even in the capital Kabul, cassette tapes could be seen on tree branches and televisions. hanging from the streetlights.
There was only one licensed radio station, “The voice of Sharia” (Islamic law), which looped Islamist messages.
Following the expulsion from power of the Taliban, thanks to an international coalition led by the United States, the media sector experienced a revolution, with the creation of many private radios and televisions.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated in August that in Afghanistan there are currently 165 radio stations, 50 television stations and dozens of printed publications.
The arrival of cell phones in the country also allowed greater access to internet and social networks.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks to the press in Kabul. Reuters photo
Improving freedom of the press is seen as one of the greatest conquests of these last two decades.
If Kyrgyzstan is excluded, Afghanistan (122nd) It is the best positioned country in the region with regard to freedom of the press according to RSF, ahead of countries like India (142º), Pakistan (145º), Russia (150º), Iran (174º) and China (177º).
But above all, the development of the media space opened up new opportunities for women, which the Taliban had prohibited from working.
Hundreds of them work today from presenters, journalists or producers in the media and communication organizations.
Dozens of Afghan journalists work in turn for foreign media.
After taking control of the country with the conquest of Kabul on August 15, the Taliban claimed that they would let the media work freely, and that journalists had nothing to fear.
Accompanying his promises with examples, one of his spokesmen, Zabihulá Mujahid, answered questions during a press conference. And another Taliban leader was interviewed face to face by a woman.
But few journalists trust his words.
In recent weeks, dozens of television networks and radios they stopped broadcasting or they came under the control of the insurgents, as the Taliban offensive advanced.
And although they promised an amnesty for the previous government officials and respect the rights of women, The rebels search from house to house for opponents, including journalists.
In Yauzyan province, the Salam Watandar radio station said on Monday that its content can only be broadcast after prior check of the new authorities.
The Taliban’s fear and mistrust of Afghan journalists have deep roots.
Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. At least 53 were killed since 2001, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
In recent months, journalists have become on target of the attacks directed against members of civil society that the previous government attributed to the Taliban.
Shabnam dawran, a host of public television RTA, said last week that she was not allowed to go to work because, she was told, “the system changed.”
Numerous Afghan journalists they fled the country on evacuation flights or are in hiding.
Bilal sarwary, a veteran of journalism and a former BBC correspondent, left the country on Sunday, considering that the situation was uncontrollable. “A tragic day in my life,” he wrote on Twitter, “they put an end to my dreams and aspirations,” he added.
With Qasim Nauman. AFP Agency