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SPJ deeply concerned about Afghan journalists and citizens


Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, zberg@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is concerned by what is happening in Afghanistan as the Taliban assume control in Kabul and other parts of the nation following the United States’ exit. We know there are still journalists putting their lives on the line to report what is happening there. We hope they are not harmed as they do their jobs.

Over 90 media outlets have closed in Afghanistan, and most are in provinces that the Taliban have reached. Afghan journalists, particularly women journalists, face extreme dangers as the Taliban take over, and SPJ and other media organizations are concerned that local reporters will be targeted for retaliation.

SPJ thanks everyone who is working to help bring those journalists and the many individuals supporting their work out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. We are thinking of all the civilians in Afghanistan, including women, journalists and especially women journalists, who are at risk simply because of who and where they are.

“The world is watching, with knots in our stomachs and no idea what it feels like to be in that horrible situation,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “But we know what it looks like because of the work of so many journalists and citizen journalists. I am heartbroken about the swift change in circumstances in Afghanistan in the past week and hoping that peace and press freedoms prevail and that journalists are protected so the world can continue to pay attention to what is happening."

SPJ International Community Co-Chair Elle Toussi has been coordinating the safe exit for female journalists in Kabul and parts of Afghanistan with partnering organizations for the last 72 hours. If any translators, fixers or local journalists need assistance exiting the region, the International Community will help direct any inquiries to the proper point of contacts. Inquiries can be sent to spj.internationalcommunity@gmail.com.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is that in the next few days, western nations and the international community need to provide a safe exit to these local journalists that are currently in hiding or else they will be killed,” Toussi said.

“As a female journalist, I fear for the Afghan female journalists who face torture, rape, and death if the Taliban find them,” SPJ President-elect Rebecca Aguilar said. “I hope that journalists and government officials in the U.S. will lend their support in any way they can to save the Afghan journalists who did their best to seek the truth when we were there, also covering the chaos.”

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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