NUJ and IFJ call for urgent action by UK government to secure safe passage for under-threat former BBC journalists in Afghanistan

Over seven weeks since the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, and the subsequent evacuation of western troops from the city, many journalists with close links to the UK remain stuck in hiding, fearful for their lives.

A Taliban commander (C) speaks to the members of the media after they halted a demonstration by women protestors happening in front of a school in Kabul on September 30, 2021. Credits: BULENT KILIC / AFP

These include a number of journalists who previously worked for the BBC, and are at particularly high risk because of their profile and clear connections with the British public service broadcaster.

The NUJ and IFJ have made urgent representations on behalf of these journalists, yet there remains a concerning lack of clarity and frustratingly slow progress on securing visas to bring them to the UK.

NUJ General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “It’s absolutely clear that journalists associated with the BBC and other western media outlets are at grave risk. There are reports of Taliban commanders calling for BBC journalists to be punished, targeted and attacked as enemies of Afghanistan. The UK government and the BBC have a particular duty of care to these journalists, and more must urgently be done to speed up the resettlement process and secure their safe passage to the UK. We need engaged and speedy action before lives are lost.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "The threats being issued against former BBC journalists are credible and serious. Their lives are at risk, forcing many of them to go in to hiding or keep moving night after night to stay safe. Urgent action to secure the evacuation and resettlement of these journalists with a clear connection to the UK must be a priority for the UK government".  

The NUJ continues to support the IFJ’s global campaign to support Afghan journalists, with fundraising ongoing to support individuals still in Afghanistan and those journalists who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries in recent weeks.  

To support Afghan colleagues, please make a donation to the Safety Fund here.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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