The UN envoy in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, at a ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday condemned threats against journalists in Afghanistan and said the Taliban has been under pressure by the United Nations for their recent threat to Afghan media.
“We as the United Nations take this very seriously. We come to all the meetings of media freedom, particularly the protection against journalists. We not only content that advocate, but we also talk to the Taliban and other insurgents. We condemn their attacks, we press them in dialogue,” Yamamoto said.
On July 24, Taliban in a statement threatened all Afghan TV channels, radio stations and other media outlets to avoid airing and publishing advertisements which the resurgent group believes are a “propaganda against their fighters”.
The group warned to target all those people associated with those media outlets who continue to broadcast anti-Taliban commercials.
Yamamoto made the remarks at a ceremony on 100 years of media outlets activities in Afghanistan.
Chairperson of the political and press department of the European Union in Afghanistan, Christian Joly, said the EU stands by Afghan media and supports them against any threats.
“The European Union stands with the Afghan journalists and media and considers that any attack against media and media people is an attack against the country,” Joly said.
Acting Minister of Information and Culture, Hasina Safi, said the past 15 years has been a golden era for freedom of the press in Afghanistan.
“We have the best freedom [of the press] in Afghanistan compared with countries in the region,” Safi said.
A number of Afghan journalists were honored at the ceremony.
“Considering the developments of the past 18 years and our role as supporters of democracy, I do not think that we would accept to return to the past and leave behind the 18 years of achievements and let the Taliban come to power in the way they want,” said Shafiqa Habibi, a journalist.
Afghanistan is believed to have a good status in terms of freedom of the press in the region, but the country has been identified as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.
Government’s statistics show that there are 96 TV channels, 65 radio stations and 911 print media in Kabul, as well as 107 TV channels, 284 radio stations, and 416 print media in other provinces. He says there are 1,879 active media outlets in Afghanistan which are called as one of the main achievements of the country in the past 18 years.