Since its takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban continues to attack Afghan journalists and shut down media outlets amid a deep economic crisis and ever-shrinking individual freedoms. Women journalists are hit hardest: three-quarters of them are now unemployed.
In just one year, Afghanistan has lost almost 40% of its media outlets and 60% of its journalists. Those still reporting do so at the risk of censorship, termination, physical and psychological abuse, and arbitrary arrests.
Internews has been in Afghanistan for two decades, working alongside Afghan journalists, media entrepreneurs, and technologists as they fostered a media sector that, at its height, employed thousands of women, reached every province, and became one of the most trusted institutions in the country.
We cannot watch that progress be erased.
Throughout the past year, Internews has been supporting independent radio, TV, and online media outlets to pivot to new operational models. Some of these outlets are working from exile, like the well-known 8AM Media (Hasht-s-Subh) and Khabarnama News Agency; others are still active in the country. All have continued to produce vital content for the Afghan people.
As potential income from ads and donors has greatly diminished, independent media outlets like these need financial support to continue to retain staff and produce content. Once safely relocated, they have space to be more critical of the Taliban authorities than those based in Afghanistan. With Internews’ support, they continue to work with journalists in Afghanistan but with a low-key, anonymous approach to protecting journalists’ identity and safety.
Internews will continue to support Afghan media both inside and outside of Afghanistan, coordinate with our peers and partner organizations to protect those journalists and outlets at continued risk, and ensure the survival of Afghanistan’s once-vibrant media sector.