The combined images of the five journalists shared by Tolo News on Twitter. 
The combined images of the five journalists shared by Tolo News on Twitter. 

Taliban arrests five journalists working with Kabul daily: Report

Tolo News, Afghanistan's biggest independent TV network, said the information was shared by Zaki Daryabi, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Etilaatroz.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Sohini Goswami, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON SEP 08, 2021 02:57 PM IST

As many as five journalists from Etilaatroz, a daily newspaper in Kabul, have been arrested by the Taliban, said ToloNews, Afghanistan's biggest independent TV network. It further said the information was shared by Zaki Daryabi, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, on Wednesday.

Fears of repression have been rising among media houses and personnel ever since the Islamic militant group took over the war-torn country in mid-August after the fall of the Western-backed elected government, led by Ashraf Ghani.

The Taliban leadership has asked Afghan media to operate as usual, besides their apparent softening stance on women. It has said media will be allowed to criticise anyone, but they should not indulge in character assassination, the spokesperson said.

One official even sat down for an interview with a woman host on Tolo News, keen to convince people that the Taliban will be softer this time around. But many Afghans, including in the media, are not convinced.

Also read | Wary of Taliban diktats, Afghan media test limits of press freedom

The group had killed and threatened journalists throughout its 20-year insurgency. During their 1996-2001 regime, TV and most entertainment were banned, and there was no media to speak of.

The woman who had interviewed the Taliban official later told The Associated Press that she was nervous when she saw him enter the studio, but his behavior and how he answered questions helped put her at ease a bit.

She, however, fled the country after the interview, unwilling to take any chances about the Taliban's promises of greater openness and living temporarily in a compound in Qatar for Afghan refugees.

Also read | ‘Don’t be scared’: Afghan TV anchor relays Taliban message surrounded by armed fighters

The Taliban victory has plunged Afghanistan's independent media into crisis.

About 100 privately owned outlets have suspended operations, according to watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

(With agency inputs)

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