Ban on ‘taking videos, photographs’ in Helmand removed

A Taliban official in Helmand said on Friday that the restrictions on taking videos and photographs in the southern province have been lifted, calling the issue a “misunderstanding.”

Abdul Ahad, Taliban governor in Helmand, said last month that journalists were not allowed to take videos and photographs in the province, saying it is forbidden in Islam.

He made the announcement at a gathering in Helmand which journalists also attended.

Mohammad Qasim Riyaz, the deputy head of Taliban’s information and culture directorate in Helmand, said “a misunderstanding caused the problem” and that it has been resolved and “now journalists can take photographs and videos.”

He did not provide details about the matter.

Some journalists in Helmand said the Taliban informed them on Wednesday evening that they could normally continue their work and take photographs and videos.

“Taliban told us on Wednesday that the ban on taking photographs and videos has been lifted and journalists can continue their normal work,” said Esmatullah Mudasir, a journalist in Helmand.

Taliban has imposed many restrictions on media organizations and journalists in Afghanistan over the past 18 months.

According to the Afghan media watchdog NAI, the organization that supports Afghanistan’s media, 93 percent of female journalists and media workers lost their jobs following the collapse of the former government because of restrictions imposed by the Taliban and because of financial problems media outlets are facing. NAI added that 50 percent of Afghanistan’s television stations have stopped broadcasting due to financial problems, while 48 percent of radio stations and all printed media outlets also closed down.