U.S. Press Leaders Seek Protections for Afghan Journalists

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Leading U.S. journalists called Wednesday for stepped-up efforts to safeguard Afghan citizens who have helped…

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Leading U.S. journalists called Wednesday for stepped-up efforts to safeguard Afghan citizens who have helped U.S. news organizations and who now fear for their safety.

National Press Club President Lisa Nicole Matthews and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane urged the Biden administration to expedite the process of extracting these endangered people from Afghanistan and urged the Taliban to honor its promises to allow journalists to freely and safely do their jobs.

U.S.-based news organizations have employed scores of Afghan citizens in recent years–for instance as reporters, translators and drivers. On Monday, top executives of three leading U.S. news organizations–the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal–wrote President Biden and urged him to ensure a streamlined and secure exit from Afghanistan for Afghans who helped Western news organizations and who want to leave.

«We echo the call from top U.S. newspaper executives to the Biden administration to do its utmost to secure a safe passage for Afghans who have helped the world see Afghanistan’s story unfold and who now fear for their security,» Matthews and Greiling Keane said. «Like Afghans who helped the U.S. government in other ways and who are now in danger, those who worked for news organizations deserve nothing less than our full protection.»

The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented several hundred Afghan journalists, plus their family members, who have sought haven since the Taliban took power earlier this week, and nearly 200 of these Afghans face either imminent threats or other significant risks, CPJ said this week.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday that media outlets in Afghanistan «can continue to be free and independent» under Taliban rule.

But CPJ has documented four Taliban raids this week on the homes of Afghan employees of news organizations. Taliban militants beat two journalists who were covering protests in Jalalabad on Tuesday, according to news reports. Earlier this month, CPJ reported that suspected Taliban militants had kidnapped one reporter and shot and killed another.

«News organizations will continue to closely monitor the conditions for journalists in Afghanistan and will continue to disclose when the Taliban falls short of its promises,» Matthews and Greiling Keane said.

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club’s non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.

Contact: John Donnelly, chairman, NPC Press Freedom Team: 202 650 6738; jdonnelly@cq.com

 

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SOURCE National Press Club