Taliban court to rule on future of 10 media outlets in Afghanistan

A Taliban court is expected to rule on Thursday whether the licenses for 10 media outlets whose owners live abroad should be canceled, a Taliban official said.

Abdulhaq Hamad, who heads the Taliban’s directorate of monitoring media outlets under the ministry of information and culture, said the 10 media outlets publish propaganda against the Taliban.

“We repeatedly contacted the owners of the media outlets when they were in Afghanistan but they continued [doing] what they did,” Hamad told Amu on Tuesday. “They were summoned to the media violations committee and [we] contacted every one of them but they did not appear, and finally, the commission, which is impartial, referred the media outlets [matter] to the court.”

The Hasht-e-Subh Daily, or 8am as they call themselves, is one of the media outlets involved.

Sanjar Suhail, a shareholder of Hasht-e-Subh Daily, said the Taliban made many attempts to contact officials of the media outlet, but their calls were not responded to because the media outlets see the Taliban “as a criminal” group.

“Taliban is a terrorist and criminal group and has gained power through force. It is in vain to expect the Taliban to use human and modern methods in interaction with knowledge, human capacity and media,” he added.

The court is expected to announce its final decision on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the media outlets have been referred to the court for “legal issues”, including non-payment of taxes.

“These media outlets are registered in Afghanistan. Based on the law, they should pay taxes. The fate of the media outlets should be made clear. To address this challenge, we called for the court. This issue does not relate to the publications,” Mujahid added.

Hasht-e-Subh officials said that the Taliban had sent a letter, informing them that the court will decide on their license on Thursday.

“They sent us a letter to appear in their court and recognize them,” Suhail said. “We will neither pay attention to their letter nor their warning.”

Taliban has said it will make public the names of the 10 outlets once the court makes a decision.