Taliban to Media: Don't Broadcast Anything Contradicting Islamic Values

Taliban fighters sit on a vehicle along the street in Jalalabad province on Aug. 15, 2021.
Taliban fighters sit on a vehicle along the street in Jalalabad province on Aug. 15, 2021. (Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Taliban, which have taken control of Afghanistan, have signaled how they expect the media to cover the country.

CPJ's Steven Butler, who is processing journalist requests to get out of the country, said that Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, in a press conference this week, said the Taliban would allow all media outlets to continue to operate, but on three conditions: 1) "there should be no broadcast that will contradict Islamic values"; 2) they should report impartially: and 3) nobody should air anything "against the national interest," that interest, of course, being determined by the Taliban.

And while the "impartial" condition sounds hopeful, Butler is pessimistic. "Governments use this kind of double talk all over the region and all over the world to find ways to restrict what journalists do," said Butler.

Also Read: CPJ: U.S. Must Do More for Afghan Journalists

Then there is the fact that the situation on the ground already does not match the rhetoric.

During their march on the provinces that have been falling like dominos, the Taliban has closed down media outlets and substituted their own personnel, said Butler.

CPJ Asia research associate Sonali Dhawan said she was in contact with a female journalist who said she has been threatened--she is hiding in a hotel as CPJ works to try to get her out of the country. While CPJ said they would keep her updated on her case, the journalist  responded: “I may not be alive by that time.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.