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Check Global Network Stands In Solidarity With Women Journalists In Afghanistan

As the Taliban take over Afghanistan and establish their reign, there are questions about how the group will govern the country, and what this means for human rights, freedom of expression, press freedom and for women in Afghanistan. Women journalists are at high risk in the country and with the Taliban attacking the press and women journalists, there are heightened concerns about their promise to respect women’s rights and their statements encouraging women to return to work.

Even before the Taliban took over Kabul in August 2021, the group has targeted women in the media in Afghanistan. Media workers have felt unsafe and, as a result, have practiced self-censorship, quit work or have faced violent consequences. Women journalists have challenged the perceived social expectation that women should not work in public domains in Afghanistan. As a result they have been attacked - therefore, some women journalists have left Afghanistan.

Women journalists from Afghanistan have spoken out against the Taliban regime. A TV presenter who was denied access to her workplace has called on the international community to help, saying “our lives are under serious threat”. Another woman journalist told a media agency, “For many years, I worked as a journalist to raise the voice of Afghans, especially Afghan women, but now our identity is being destroyed and nothing has been done by us to deserve this.”

The Check Global Network stands in solidarity with all women journalists in Afghanistan, who are being targeted because of their work. We urge democratic governments to facilitate emergency visas to Afghan women journalists and their dependents who wish to leave or are under threat and provide safe passage out of the country. Women journalists, both inside and outside the country, need mental health support and opportunities to work, share their experiences and continue to report in their own voices. We also urge newsrooms, civil society organizations, the international community and human rights groups to support their needs in whichever ways possible, including ongoing media pressure in both independent and mainstream, localised and global coverage of the new Taliban regime. Women journalists who are under attack need our support in digital security practices and tools. Resources in local languages and support from experts in digital security is also urgently required. We urge social media platforms to roll out security features to protect the identities of those who could be targeted through their social media profiles and other online information.

The Check Global Network is committed to supporting and strengthening the work of women journalists and media professionals from Afghanistan. We are a community that brings together civil society groups and newsrooms working in the area of independent media and information creation in different regions, including Central and South Asia. As a network, we will continue to monitor the situation in Afghanistan closely and extend our support to interventions designed to support women journalists from the country.

To join the network, share more information about the situation in Afghanistan or for more information on our work, please reach out to us at checkglobalnetwork@meedan.com

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