Afghanistan: IFJ releases report on Afghan women journalists on Human Rights Day

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) have launched a joint report titled ‘In Their Own Words: Afghan Women Journalists Speak’, telling the lived experiences of women journalists struggling for their rights and their professions since the Taliban takeover in August, 2021.

The report, supported by Norsk Journalistlag and launched on Human Rights Day on December 10, marks the culmination of 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Through commissioning this report, the IFJ continues to shine a spotlight on Afghan women journalists and urges the international community to extend support in the shape of humanitarian assistance, visas, relocation, work permits and support for women journalists to continue their profession.

Comprising several interviews with women journalists both inside and outside of Afghanistan, the report highlights the threats to life and livelihood imposed by the new regime. As the Taliban imposes new restrictions on the media, including a dress code on women journalists, there is continued resistance, with women journalists determined to continue their work and tell the world their stories.  

According to UNHCR estimates, as of November 2021, 3.4 million people in Afghanistan have been uprooted by conflict, with a large majority being women and children. In September, a group of UN human rights experts identified Afghan journalists and media workers, particularly women, at heightened risk and called on all States to provide urgent protection to those seeking safety abroad.

The IFJ is working with its affiliates in Afghanistan to provide humanitarian assistance and advocate for the cases of those most at risk.

Under the banner Journalists for Afghanistan, the Network of Women in Media, India, in collaboration with the Media Safety and Solidarity Fund (MSSF), launched a photo-fundraiser to support Afghan women journalists. Approximately US $100,000 raised is now being disbursed to cover daily costs of living, visas, travel out of Afghanistan and equipment to upskill and pursue a livelihood.

IFJ Deputy General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, said, “the IFJ has been asking governments to target development assistance to help sustain media, either inside Afghanistan or in exile, with many journalists who have fled wanting to continue their work in media.”

The global theme for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence set by the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign, Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!” is increasingly pertinent as Afghan women journalists face high levels of violence and intimidation.

The IFJ said, “This report underscores the plight of Afghan women journalists and the intensification of the Taliban’s campaign against women’s rights, to stifle press freedom and to cripple Afghanistan’s media. On Human Rights Day and to mark the end of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, the IFJ calls on the international community to do more to support Afghan women journalists and ensure their safety and protect their livelihoods.”

Read the report here.

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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