The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in strongly condemning the expulsion of a New York Times journalist by the Afghanistan government on August 20 for refusing to identify sources for an article.
According to reports, Matthew Rosenberg, a Kabul-based 40-year-old journalist, was first barred from leaving and then ordered to leave Afghanistan within 24 hours. He left the country on the evening of August 21.
The expulsion was ordered after Rosenberg refused to identify sources for an article about a plan by unnamed officials to seize power if the political crisis in Afghanistan continued. The country has been gripped by political deadlock since a presidential election in April failed to produce an outright winner and a subsequent runoff in June led to fraud charges.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said in a statement that Rosenberg’s article was a sign of “meddling and interference of foreigners for destabilizing Afghanistan.” However, Rosenberg has denied any such motive.
The expulsion is the first of a Western journalist since Karzai took office after the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.
Ketabullah Khpolwak Sapai, President of AIJA said “We strongly condemn the expulsion of Matthew Rosenberg, and view it as a violation of Afghanistan’s media law. There is a due process when complaints are made against journalists and this was not followed in this case. The manner in which Matthew was treated and expelled from Afghanistan is illegal and a violation of Afghan laws.”
“It is an attempt by the government to impose political ideas and ideology on society and media. It is extremely concerning for freedom of expression and contradicts the government’s statements for the last 13 years that they support the media.”
Jane Worthington, the IFJ Asia Pacific deputy director said: “The decision to expel a journalist for not naming his sources is a condemnable and deplorable act. Journalists have the right to protect their sources and its an undemocratic move of the government even to ask him to name the sources for the news story.”
We call on the government to immediately revoke the decision and allow Matthew Rosenberg to return to Afghanistan.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific