Afghanistan Political Orientation
Government Type: Islamic Republic (as per constitution (2004–2021) which was abolished after the Taliban took over.)
Leader: Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada
Political Party: Taliban (“No country has “recognized” the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new government since it took power in August 2021.”)
Political Position: Islamist nationalism, and pro-Pashtun movement (Pashtun is the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan.)
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 23.88 – Total Oppression
World Press Freedom Rank: Afghanistan 152/180
Afghanistan is ranked 152 out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 report. Reporters Without Borders reports the Taliban’s rise to power has had a negative impact on “press freedom and the safety of journalists, especially women.” They also report journalists have been arrested which can be “violent and can last from a few hours to almost a week.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Approximately two decades after the U.S.-led coalition overthrew the Taliban, they surged back to power and took control of the country in August 2021.
Upon taking over, the constitution (2004) was abolished, the country was declared an “Islamic Emirate,” and its leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, announced an interim government as the U.S.-backed government President Ashraf Ghani, fled the country.
Since the Taliban takeover, press freedom has deteriorated due to international sanctions, which have placed the Afghani economy on the brink of collapse. According to DW, most journalists have lost their jobs, and many media outlets are closed. Further, in May 2022, the Taliban government began enforcing an order requiring all female TV news anchors in the country to cover their faces while on-air.
As of 2022, no country has recognized the Taliban government due to concerns over ties to terrorism and human rights abuses, particularly those of women. Further, in March 2022, foreign broadcasters in Afghanistan such as BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, and China Global Television Network are banned by the Taliban.
In May 2022, it was announced that the Taliban dissolved the human rights council.
In summary, the press is not free in Afghanistan and is subject to substantial government censorship through either direct threats of violence or by being shut down. Further, foreign press is being removed from the country resulting in isolation from the world. Afghanistan is moving toward total oppression of the media.
Last Updated on May 11, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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