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KARACHI: One year after the Taliban’s return to power, Afghan media and press freedom are in crisis. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has monitored the situation closely and at this one-year mark, we are shining a spotlight on the dire challenges facing journalists in Afghanistan, those in exile, and women journalists in particular in a special report published titled “Afghanistan’s Media Crisis.” To learn more join a panel discussion on Tuesday, August 16 at 10:00 am EST.

The assessment finds that there has been a significant deterioration in press freedom marked by censorship, arrests, assaults, and restrictions, particularly on women journalists. Despite these challenges and a plummeting economy, Afghanistan’s journalists have proven remarkably resilient, remaining committed to their mission and vital reporting both from within the country and from exile, despite dangers to themselves and their families.

CPJ’s special report is anchored in our extensive research and includes interviews with two dozen Afghan journalists. It focuses on the challenges faced by women journalists at a time when the Taliban’s restrictions amount to an attempt to erase women from public life. It also speaks to the experience of journalists in exile who struggle to continue reporting and keep fellow Afghans informed.

CPJ is also seeking to improve conditions for Afghan journalists, and the report lays out a set of recommendations addressed to the Taliban as the de facto authority in Afghanistan, as well as to foreign governments and international organizations. Critically, CPJ recommends that the Taliban end the involvement of the General Directorate of Intelligence in media oversight and allow civil institutions to exercise their authority over the sector.

Foreign governments should provide resettlement support to at-risk journalists, as well as humanitarian and technical assistance to those remaining in Afghanistan. International pressure must also be brought to bear on the Taliban to live up to its pledges and guarantee the ability of all journalists and media workers to report and produce news freely and independently, without fear of reprisal.

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