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A recent watchdog report reveals a shrinking media landscape in Afghanistan

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Kabul: The Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC) has highlighted significant challenges faced by journalists in Afghanistan over the past year, impeding their ability to work effectively. Published on National Journalist’s Day, AFJC’s annual report for the 1402 solar year (March 2023 to March 2024) underscores the deteriorating state of media freedom in the country. According to the report, media professionals encountered severe limitations on their basic rights and legal protections.

The imposition of media restrictions and pressure on journalists and media workers has led to the closure of more than half of Afghanistan’s media outlets, TV stations, and radio stations. Recent findings from the Afghanistan Journalists’ Support Organization (AJSO), based in Germany, revealed that since the Taliban assumed control, only 13 out of 91 print newspapers operational during the previous government remain active. Similarly, among 248 TV channels, only 68 are still operational, while out of 438 radio stations, only 211 are currently functioning across the country’s 34 provinces. The remaining outlets either relocated abroad or ceased operations due to restrictions or financial difficulties.

The AFJC’s annual report signals a surge in pressure on media and journalists compared to preceding years. During the previous solar year, AFJC documented at least 139 incidents involving violations of media and journalist rights, including 80 threats and 59 arrests. While no targeted attacks leading to injury or death occurred during this period, the media watchdog recorded eight instances of media operations being suspended and cases involving the prosecution and imprisonment of radio station managers.

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