Watchdog condemns arrest of journalists in Baghlan

Three journalists were arrested by the Taliban’s intelligence in Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, April 5, two sources from the province said.

The journalists include two reporters from Taliban-led National Radio and Television and a journalist from Tanwir TV.

Afghanistan Journalists Center in a statement on Thursday condemned the arrest of the journalists and said they were arrested for making a report on security measures in the city of Pul-e-Khumri, the center of Baghlan, three weeks ago which was probably not based on the will of Taliban authorities.

Those arrested included Ghulam Ali Wahdat, a reporter for Tanwir TV in Baghlan, Nooragha Saadat, a reporter for Taliban-run RTA, and Safiullah Wafa, a cameraman for RTA in Baghlan, according to the watchdog.

Meanwhile, Safiullah Wafa in a chat with Amu confirmed that they were released on Thursday afternoon but did not speak about the reason behind their arrest by the Taliban.

Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) in its annual report on March 18 said that the situation of media freedom is deteriorating in the country, and that cases of violence and intimidation of journalists have doubled compared with the previous year.

The center said it has documented 237 cases of media freedom violations and journalists’ rights that include threats, arrests and violent treatment.

In the previous solar year, 1400 (March 2021 to March 2022), 117 cases were documented, the watchdog organization said.

It added that one journalist was killed in a targeted attack over the past year, three less than documented in the previous year.

According to the organization, except for the explosion in Balkh in March in which two journalists, including Husain Naderi of Sadai Afghan news agency, were killed, and 19 more were wounded, the majority of other incidents involved members of Taliban institutions, especially intelligence and security members.

It also said that of the total incidents documented in the solar year 1401 (March 2022 to March 2023), 113 cases included threats, mistreatment and abuse of journalists.