New Taliban threat against Afghan media

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the latest Taliban threat against the media in Afghanistan.

A communiqué was issued after the bombing of “voice of Sharia,” a Taliban propaganda outlet in the central province of Ghazni, by US-led coalition aircraft on 10 June:

 “Media financed by the occupiers will pay the consequences of the incorrect behaviour towards the Mujahedeen (Taliban) if it does not stop quickly,” the communiqué posted on the Taliban website on 12 June said.

We once again warn all parties to the conflict, both state and non-state actors, and remind them of their obligations as regards the protection of journalists,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Afghanistan desk. “Attacks on civilian targets, including media and journalists, constitute war crimes. We will hold Taliban delegations abroad, including their office in Doha, to account for every Taliban attack on journalists and media.”

This is not the first Taliban threat against the media. In a communiqué issued on 12 October 2015, they described Afghanistan’s two biggest privately-owned TV stations, Tolo TV and TV1, as “military targets.” The “consequence” came on 20 January 2016 in the form of the suicide bombing of a Kabura production company bus that killed seven Moby Group employees who worked at Tolo TV.

RSF regards the Taliban as enemies of the press. Their goal is to create news and information black holes, and they have done this in the areas they control.

According to RSF’s tally, a total of 36 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2016 in attacks by the Taliban and Islamic State (Daesh), the country two leading press freedom predators.

 Afghanistan is ranked 118th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index.