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Media Freedom News South Africa

Taliban arrests radio journalists for engaging with female callers - CPJ

On Monday, three radio journalists—Ismail Saadat, Wahidullah Masum, and Ehsanullah Tasal—were arrested by the provincial directorate of the Taliban-controlled Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Afghanistan. They were detained for engaging with female callers and broadcasting music during Eid al-Fitr.

According to Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) The journalists were questioned by Taliban authorities regarding their broadcasting practices during the holiday earlier this month. The Taliban has prohibited playing and listening to music since regaining control of Afghanistan in August 2021.

“The detention of Afghan journalists Ismail Saadat, Wahidullah Masum, and Ehsanullah Tasal is only the latest example of the Taliban’s ruthless suppression of the press since the group returned to power in 2021,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s programme director, in New York “The Taliban must immediately and unconditionally release all detained journalists and allow the media to operate without restrictive measures like bans on women callers.”

Last month, authorities in Khost Province prohibited women and girls from calling broadcasters, as reported by the Afghan Journalists Center. Female listeners often phoned in to ask questions during educational programs. Notably, Afghanistan is the only country where girls are banned from attending high school.

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