Press Statement

Afghanistan: Journalist detained for alleged links to diaspora media

13 May, 2024

Journalist Neda Mohammad Noori was detained by the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) in the eastern Parwan province, reportedly due to his alleged work with exiled Afghan media outlets. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Union (AIJU), urge the Taliban to pursue cases related to media work through official channels and cease the arbitrary detention and harassment of media workers.

On May 4, reporter, anchor, and news producer with the Taliban-run national broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) Neda Mohammad Noori was taken into Taliban custody while travelling to work. Neda was reportedly apprehended by provincial officials with the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence at approximately 8:00 p.m. in the Hofyan-e-Sharif area of Charikar City.

Media reports claim his arrest was due to his alleged collaboration with exiled Afghan media outlets, although no official reason for the arrest has been provided. In a statement, AIJU reported that Noori was released on May 11, following information from Parwan National Television.

The arrest coincides with a  May 8 Taliban directive for journalists and experts to avoid working with the United-Kingdom based outlet Afghanistan International Television, with a spokesperson from the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture claiming the broadcaster had violated professional, moral, and legal standards.

Detained Herat journalist and Solh TV head Ramin Amiri was similarly released on May 8, following his March 21 arrest by the intelligence personnel reportedly linked to financial practices within his media activities.

In the annual South Asia Press Freedom Report 2023-2024, the IFJ observed the detentions of 37 Afghan journalists between May 2023 and April 2024. In the wake of broad attacks on their professional and human rights, media professionals in Afghanistan have faced a wave of arbitrary arrests, detentions, and assaults while in custody, resulting in a rise of self-censorship and an exodus from the profession.

AIJU said:While welcoming Mr Noori’s release, AIJU once again asks the authorities of the Islamic Emirate to follow up on the cases related to media work through the Commission for Handling Complaints and Handling Media Violations.

The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the unlawful detention of journalists and media workers in Afghanistan and urges the Taliban to pursue proper channels in the investigation of any allegations related to media work. The press must be free to conduct their duties without fear of retribution, with Noori’s arrest the latest threat to press freedom and freedom of expression since the Taliban’s ascension to power.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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