Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s remarks about the media during the Taliban's first press conference in Kabul city on Tuesday sparked reactions, with some media outlets stating they are already committed to impartial reporting, and reporting in a way that respects national interests.
Mujahid said that women in the media can continue their activities within the framework of Islam, but some journalists said the issue has already been taken into consideration by women and media workers in the last 20 years.
Women who have played an active role in society for the last two decades said that time will tell whether or not the Taliban will stay aligned with their current commitments to women’s rights.
Mujahid said the Taliban wants all media outlets to continue their activities, but they have three suggestions: No broadcast should contradict Islamic values, reports should be impartial, no one should broadcast anything that goes against national interests.
Some journalists and media owners said that Afghan media has been committed to these suggestions for the last two decades and they hope the Taliban will not impose censorship that curtails freedom of speech.
“Iran is a Muslim country and we see the broadcasting of its TV networks,” said Sharif Hassanyar, head of Ariana News. “Indonesia is a big Muslim nation and we see its media broadcast. Same in Turkey which is a Muslim country. I think the Afghan media has in many cases considered this matter when it comes to airing something that is called un-Islamic.”
Mujahid said they will stay committed to women’s rights based on Islamic sharia.
However, Afghan peace negotiator Fawzia Kofi said that the Taliban should prove to Afghans whether or not their perception of women’s rights is based on religious principles.
“They should show that their perceptions of women’s rights are based on religious principles, not based on the culture and traditions in which the rights of most women are sacrificed,” Kofi said.
The Taliban also committed to providing general immunity against reprisals for all and security for citizens--including government employees--as well as for foreign diplomatic offices. The Taliban also pledged to fight drug trafficking and poppy cultivation.
Mujahid stressed that the Taliban is not seeking revenge against anyone.
“We expect that the Taliban will issue official statements on justice, equality and freedom,” said Niaz Mohammad, a Kabul resident.
“What will happen to 10,000 artists who are in Afghanistan?” said Ahmad Saberi, a Kabul resident. “Will they be able to return to their jobs or will they be taken out of the country?”
People said they are waiting for the announcement of a new government for the third day since the Taliban took power.