The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the US on Tuesday do more to ensure the safety of Afghan journalists in the wake of the fall of the country in Taliban hands and to facilitate their safe passage out of the country by providing them emergency visas, Tolo News repors.
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon expressed deep concern for the safety of hundreds of local journalists and media workers who created thriving information space and covered events for international media.
He pointing that the US has a special responsibility to Afghan reporters, photographers and media workers that could be targeted now by the emerging Taliban regime and must do everything in its power to protect their lives and rights as well as the press freedom.
CPJ is one of the most vocal global advocate for emergency visas for journalists at risk precisely to avoid temporary or improvised responses when new threats emerge, like in Afghanistan.
Due to the chaotic situation and deteriorating security at the airport that Taliban has closed since, only a handful of journalists have managed to board a flight to the US or a third country while vast majority of threatened journalists remain in hiding, many of them working with The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
Nearly300 journalists in search for safety have been registered and vetted by the CPJ, 45 of which are high priority cases under clear and imminent threat from the Taliban and many are female journalists reporting on women’s rights.
Hundreds more cases are under review by the media watchdog underscoring that the local knowledge of Afghan journalists cannot be replaced even if much of their reporting takes place from exile.
Meanwhile, several US news outlets called President Biden in a joint statement signed by heads of The NYT, The WaPo and The WSJ to help Afghan journalists to safely escape by offering them facilitated and protected access to the US-controlled airport and facilitated air movement out of the country.
The newspapers’ statement said that they’re asking Biden administration to support their colleagues and to send unequivocal signal it will stand behind the free press.