Taliban officials in Kandahar to Media: Be prepared for more restrictions

Taliban officials in a meeting with journalists in Kandahar province on Dec. 28.

Taliban intelligence officials said at a meeting with journalists in Kandahar on Wednesday that media outlets should be prepared for some changes in their operations, hinting at soon-to-be-announced restrictions on the media.

Hamim Arslan, the head of the media office of the Taliban intelligence directorate in Kandahar, told journalists that they should be prepared for a ban on women working in the media and that the group is looking to implement measures to reduce the need for female employees at media outlets.

The meeting was attended by Taliban officials from the intelligence directorate, hajj and religious affairs department, the higher education department, the information and culture department and the provincial police command.

Addressing the meeting, Arslan introduced 11 rules, saying all media outlets are obligated to implement the regulations.

According to Arslan, the rules include:

1- Women phoning in to general radio and television programs are prohibited from doing so, and they are limited to making calls to religious and medical programs

2- Offices for male and female employees must be separate

3- Female employees must observe hijab

4- Men and women presenters must not co-host a program

5- Women who are interviewed by media outlets must observe hijab otherwise the program can not be broadcast

6- Female guests being interviewed via Zoom or Skype must observe hijab.

7- Those who do not recognize the legitimacy of the Taliban government must not appear in the media.

8- Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada must be referred to as “Sheikh Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada Leader of the Islamic Emirate

9- Media outlets must not “exaggerate” security incidents in Afghanistan as it damages the psychological well-being of the people

10- Music and TV series are totally prohibited

Arslan warned that media outlets that violate these orders will face legal action by the Taliban.

The Taliban official added that it was the responsibility of the media outlets to implement the regulations and that there was a general consensus among the Taliban to issue these rules.

Hamim Arslan stated that the rules were not negotiable and that media outlets are obliged to obey orders.

Taliban officials in a meeting with journalists in Kandahar on Dec. 28.

Another Taliban official, meanwhile, stated that they do not care about the international community’s pressure regarding recent decisions.

Abdul Rahman Tayibi, head of the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice directorate for Kandahar, said that they “do not care about the pressures of the international community.”

A number of Afghan journalists, who attended the meeting, raised concern over the Taliban’s new restrictions on media outlets, stating that the Taliban are forcing them to implement their demands without sending an official notice to the media outlets.

In the past 16 months since the Taliban takeover, the group has imposed increasing restrictions on the media and journalists, particularly on women.