Taliban slammed for banning press conference in Kabul
The UN mission and a number of media-support organisations have slammed the Taliban for banning a press conference, calling the move a restriction on freedom of expression and asking the government not to impede their activities.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_The Afghanistan Journalists Federation said it planned to hold a conference on Wednesday on the situation of media and journalists in Afghanistan.
“Despite the availability of the required facilities and invitations sent to journalists to cover this conference, the Islamic Emirate prevented the event through a verbal order,” a statement from the federation said.
It asked the government to cooperate with journalists in resolving their problems in coordination with members of the federation.
The Free Speech Hub (FSH), an organisation supporting freedom of speech, also alleged before the press conference could be held, some security forces “threatened and pressured” members of the federation to cancel the event.
In a separate press release, FSH said the security forces held three journalists — Masroor Lotfi, Fardin Atai and – in their vehicle for some time and warned of having arrest warrants for them.
The aim of the conference was to announce the outcome of a survey about the situation of, access to information and harassment of media people over the past five months.
FSH called the security forces’ actions “a clear violation of freedom of expression. This action by the Taliban is in clear contradiction to the promises made by their leaders during the ,” the statement added.
The organisation called on the incumbent government not to disrupt freedom of expression which it termed an achievement of the Afghan people.
FSH urged the international community, the European Union’s representative in and to use diplomatic channels to prevent “people’s voice being stifled”.
Meanwhile, UNAMA said: “Banning a press conference is a restriction on freedom of expression. The Taliban are being asked to support dialogues between Afghans and not to restrict those who have different views.”
Pajhwok shared the issue with the government and sought its comment, but officials are yet to respond.