Wed, 25 May 2022

Kabul [Afghanistan], January 27 (ANI) The UN mission and a number of organizations supporting a free and fair media have slammed the Taliban for banning a press conference by the Afghan Media Federation on Wednesday calling it a restriction on the freedom of expression.

The organizations have also asked the Taliban to not impede activities by the federation, reported Pajhwok Afghan News.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) commented on the incident and 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," reported the news agency.

The Free Speech Hub (FSH), an organisation supporting freedom of speech, also alleged that before the press conference could be held, some security forces "threatened and pressured" members of the federation to cancel the event, reported the news agency.

Additionally, the FSH organization urged the international community, the European Union's representative in Kabul and UNAMA to use diplomatic channels to prevent "people's voice being stifled".

Notably, The Afghanistan Federation of Journalists and Media conference was supposed to be held on Wednesday in Kabul and the press briefing was to be given by 11 representatives of various media organizations, reported Tolo News.

"It was planned that today the Afghanistan Federation of Journalists and Media would hold a conference. National and international media outlets were going to cover it; however, unfortunately, due to the verbal order of the officials of the Islamic Emirate, the conference was cancelled," said Ali Asghar Akbarzada, Head of the Afghanistan National Journalists' Union.

Members of the federation said that the Islamic Emirate instructed them not to hold the conference until they receive permission, reported Tolo News.

"We call on the Islamic Emirate to finalize their decision in the future. They should make the decision as soon as possible and give us a permit so we can hold our conference based on it," Akbarzada said.

Based on statistics, over 43 per cent of media activities have been halted and over 60 per cent of media employees have become jobless since the Islamic Emirate swept to power in Afghanistan in mid-August. (ANI)

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