A watchdog on Saturday said that some local media outlets have stopped their activities after the Taliban imposed restrictions on them in areas under their control.
NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said that some local radio stations in a number of districts that have fallen to the Taliban have now changed to a “propaganda source” for the group.
“They change local radio as tools for their propaganda,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the CEO of NAI.
“All media outlets in Kunduz will stop their activities if the situation prevails for another one month,” said Hedayatullah Ziarmal, head of Uranus TV network in Kunduz.
“Some of our colleagues have left the city. More people are expected to leave. This inflicts major damage to Afghan media,” said Zabihullah Mujadadadi, head of Kunduz media center.
Last week, US Embassy in Kabul also criticized the Taliban for shutting down media outlets in their areas.
“I am disturbed by reports that the Taliban is shutting down media organizations in the districts they assault, attempting to conceal their violence in a press blackout,” the Us deputy ambassador in Kabul, Ian McCary said.
“It seems they seek to silence media to hide their destruction of public infrastructure, looting, and killings of Afghan civilians and soldiers,” he added.
According to the Center for Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, from 35 journalists who were working as women journalists in Ghazni and Baghlan, only two of them are working from home.
“They have said that your radio can air the things that we (Taliban) want, not music,” said Farida Nikzad, head of the watchdog.
“We call on the warring parties not to limit activities of media outlets and let them continue their work based on the gains that we have made in freedom of the press,” Afghan journalist Sayed Nisar Jalali said.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that they have “never imposed” ban on media.
Mujahid told TOLOnews that they will regulate specific criteria for media outlets whenever they overrun cities.
He said that the Taliban will never target the impartiality of media.