Journalists from SAARC countries have raised their voice in support of journalists in Afghanistan and appealed to the governments of SAARC countries to ask the Taliban government to restore media freedom there. In a one-day online international dialogue organized by the SAARC Journalist Forum here on Sunday, the speakers underscored on creating an environment to let journalists work freely.
“Please inform that after the change of power, the freedom of the journalists of Afghanistan has been snatched and the journalists there are living in other countries,” said Mohammad Graan, a journalist from Afghanistan, who is currently in Pakistan. He shared on the occasion that like him there were more than 100 journalists who were living in different parts of Pakistan. “They say that they are living in very bad conditions and don’t know how long they would have to live like this.” Amina Azizi, a female journalist from Afghanistan, said that the kind of situation that has developed in Afghanistan, both female journalism and female journalists were jeopardized due to this.
Khalil, another Afghan journalist living in Norway, expressed concern about the journalists of Afghanistan and urged the SAARC journalists to stand together with the journalists of Afghanistan. In this conference, there was also condemnation for the attack and murder of journalists in Maharashtra in India. They also demanded to make and implement the Journalist Protection Act. The dialogue participants also discussed the dangers due to closure of newspapers and privatization in Bhutan. Rinzin Wangchuk of Bhutan said the media in Bhutan is going out of government hands and going into private hands, and the media houses are closing down. “Advertisements and all collaborations are being stopped. We hope that things will change,” he said.
Expressing concern over the condition of journalists, SAARC Journalist Forum President (International) Raju Lama has written a letter to the United Nations urging them to solve the problem of journalists in Afghanistan. Concern was also expressed over the attacks on journalists in different parts of India. Maharashtra State President Anil Sable, South India State Coordinator Thillai Natrajan along with all India State Unit agreed and condemned the attack on journalists. The President of SAARC Journalist Forum India Chapter Anirudha Sudhansu thanked everyone on behalf of the India Chapter and expressed concern over the condition of journalists and called for intensifying the struggle for the interests of journalists in the future.