Armed Taliban militants assaulted and intimidated members of an Al-Hadath TV crew during a live broadcast in Kabul on August 10. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), condemn the attack and urge the Taliban to cease its vilification of Afghan media workers.
On August 10, Al-Hadath correspondent Christiane Baissary and her crew were reporting on the delivery of humanitarian aid by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation in Kabul.
During the live broadcast, several armed men in civilian clothing can be seen approaching Baissary, physically harassing and intimidating the crew and instructing the group to move away from the scene.
Footage depicts Baissary accusing one Taliban member of attacking the cameraman with a whip, which can be seen in his hand. The reporter begins to explain that the team had been told they could film a story on the aid distribution, however, one member of the Taliban pushes the camera away.
After returning to their car, the television crew were again approached by an armed Taliban officer who spoke to the driver.
Under the Taliban’s rule, strict censorship of the media has become commonplace, with increasingly frequent incidents of harassment and attacks against journalists and media workers.
On August 4, correspondent Anas Mallick and his camera crew were abducted and assaulted by the Taliban for covering a story for WION News on the first anniversary of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, on August 15, 2021.
The week prior, on 27 July, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid announced a new decree forbidding journalists and media workers from making ‘false accusations’ or publishing criticism of Taliban officials.
The AIJA said:“The AIJA condemns the attack on members of the Al-Hadath TV crew. Stopping journalists from covering public gatherings and aid distribution is a violation of the access to information law.”
The IFJ said: “The Taliban’s ongoing persecution of journalists and media workers has critically undermined press freedom in Afghanistan, with media rights violations increasingly common. The IFJ condemns this attack and urges the Taliban to allow journalists and media workers to carry out their work without hindrance.”