Women journalists are in the process of “disappearing” from Kabul after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a report.
Fewer than 100 of Kabul’s 700 women journalists are still working, RSF said.
According to the survey conducted by RSF and its partner organization the Center for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, out of the 510 women who used to work for eight of the biggest media outlets and press groups, only 76 are still currently working.
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“Taliban respect for the fundamental right of women, including women journalists, to work and to practice their profession is a key issue,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
After the Taliban took over control of Afghanistan on August 15, the group launched a charm offensive in order to rehabilitate their image, dubbed by the media as “Taliban 2.0.”
The Taliban insisted they have changed from their 1996-2001 era, promising to not seek revenge on government employees and soldiers, to respect the rights of women and rule the country “benevolently” under Islamic Sharia law.
However, Afghan female politicians and activists have said that they expect women to be treated as “lower class” citizens and some went as far as saying they were awaiting Taliban fighters to come and kill them.
An Afghan female TV presenter named Shabnam Dawran shared her story on social media, saying the Taliban refused to let her work.
Dawran, who worked for Afghanistan’s state-owned Radio Television Mili, took to Twitter to share her story, saying: “When I heard that the new system’s [Taliban] rules have changed. With the courage that I had in me I went to the office to start my work, [but] the current system’s soldiers didn’t give me permission to start my work.”
She added: “They told me that the regime has changed. You are not allowed, go home. I am asking the world to help me because my life is in danger.”
RSF said in its report: “Most women journalists have been forced to stop working in the provinces, where almost all privately-owned media outlets ceased operating as the Taliban forces advanced.”
The NGO focused on the freedom of the press added that: “Executives and editors with privately-owned media outlets that have not already decided to stop operating confirm that, under pressure, they have advised their women journalist to stay at home.”