Our emergency aid for journalists in Afghanistan
Since last week, Free Press Unlimited re-located 47 Afghan journalists to a safehouse because their lives were in serious danger. In addition, we are currently working closely with the Dutch authorities, pushing to evacuate Afghan media workers who have worked together with the Dutch media in their reporting on Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, hundreds of journalists, their fixers and interpreters are at risk after the takeover of the Taliban. Thirty media workers have already been killed, kidnapped or injured in Afghanistan this year. Two weeks ago, another journalist was kidnapped and two journalists were shot at by the Taliban in a car.
Leon Willems, Director of Free Press Unlimited, says: “Journalists, fixers and interpreters who reported and collaborated with international media are an explicit target. What we all have to do, the Dutch and other involved governments first, is to save those who have assisted us during the past twenty years from certain death. This also includes journalists, fixers and interpreters.”
We have observed that there are about 4,000 journalists and other media personnel in Afghanistan, of which 600 women. At least half of them are in immediate danger. At the moment, 300 of them have been brought to safety through the mediation of several press freedom organisations, including Free Press Unlimited.
To press for the evacutation of media workers who have worked with Dutch media, we have handed over a list of 15 Afghan journalists and fixers with ties to Dutch media, inlcuding 60 family members, to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the urgent request to evacuate them.
Jantine van Herwijnen, Emergency Coordinator of Free Press Unlimited: "the situation in Afghanistan is changing on an hourly basis". The list of 15 Afghan media workers however, is not sufficient. Jantine explains: "...there are more media workers in Afghanistan who are asking the Netherlands for help. We are busy with new requests and are working hard to help those people too."