Afghan journalists are struggling to find their way through the Taliban persecution

Changes in the Taliban

Madina Morwat was one of Afghan journalists who lost her job when several television and radio stations suspended Taliban programs after Kabul’s capture last month.

But the 23-year-old journalist resumed his career after working for Tolo News, Afghanistan’s largest company Moby Group and the process that represents the growing media presence in Afghanistan since the Taliban was ousted for the first time following a US-led invasion in 2001. ” if I want to leave Afghanistan, but I am committed to working for women and my country, ”she said.

Since a strong Islamic group returned to Afghanistan’s capital in August, Tolo News continues to air regularly. The first 24/7 video in the country is known to be easy to understand. News of the removal of the president has been announced Ashraf Ghani had fled while the Taliban swept the country and talked about corruption. It also uses most women journalists. Its future under the Taliban looks like a test to determine if the new government will grant independence.

In the past the Taliban from 1996-2001, women were expelled from public life, journalists were strictly controlled and radio and other forms of entertainment were banned.

In need of international recognition for assistance, the Taliban are keen to show their generous face Western powers. Instead, foreign governments expect the government to be the one to play a role in preventing economic hardships that could lead to refugees and the growing number of jihadists in the region..

But in the meantime, the format seems flawed. Despite earlier promises to the Taliban that Afghan people should not be intimidated and that courageous Muslims have no intention of retaliating against previous oppression, Kabul has seen uncoordinated attacks. Militants stormed the protest and last week beat and detained journalists – including a Tolo News camera reporter – who were covering protests against the central government.

“They can chase us away. . . I do not expect that, ”said Saad Mohseni, chairman and CEO of Moby Group, which founded Tolo News in 2004.

But Mohseni said this was the time to talk to the Taliban and reassure them of the need for Afghanistan to consider their views before the crisis strikes. “Participating is probably the right thing to do right now,” he said.

Saad Mohseni, head of Moby Group, says Tolo News should relocate outside Kabul if security or independence could be compromised © Massoud Hossaini / AP

Mohseni, a 55-year-old Australian Australian and the son of an Afghan ambassador, was born in London and left the financial profession for an Australian stockbroker Tricom to return to Afghanistan and start his own business. Moby Group was formed in 2003 with the help of USAID. Treasurer Rupert Murdoch, whom Mohseni describes as his colleague, took a small stake in the company in 2012.

Tolo’s rise announces a change in the media in Afghanistan following a US-led invasion, the country boasts of more than 150 radio stations before the Taliban regained control.

As the country’s leading broadcaster, with programmers in Pashto and Dari, the country’s two main languages, Tolo and Moby’s radio and radio stations account for 60% of Afghan audiences. The “Afghan Star” show and Tolo’s evening medical program attract 12m viewers, one-third of the country’s population. Its methods are also available in many countries.

Tolo immediately challenged the new government when he asked Taliban activist Mawlawi Abdulhaq Hemand to speak to Beheshta Arghand’s women’s affairs ambassador two days after the Muslims took power. Their exchanges spread around the world.

Arghand later questioned human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who strongly opposed the Islamic State’s crackdown on women who were shot dead as a student and Pakistan Taliban – which has declared allegiance to the Afghan Taliban.

But Arghand and more than 50 of the Tolo 400 workers have left the country, fearing for their own safety and that of their families.

Fearing for the Taliban to enter their homes, “we often slept in the office” after the abduction, a Tolo reporter who left the country at the end of August, “The Taliban are not doing what they say. We must save our lives and our families.”

Anchor story of Afghanistan Beheshta Arghand
Tolo News anchor Beheshta Arghand and her friends flee Afghanistan in fear © Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

Mohseni, who speaks from Dubai, said he would not return to Afghanistan until his security was confirmed. The Taliban have promised Tolo that he will continue his program, he said, but he has carefully released Turkish dramas and music videos.

Observers say the early days of the new government brought false hopes for the future of free journalists.

“Top Taliban leaders see Tolo as a tool they can use to tarnish their image in the coming months,” said Avinash Paliwal at the Soas South Asia Institute at the University of London. “Since Tolo is the most powerful voice in the world, the Taliban are giving them a chance to help soften their history. That opportunity could change.”

While it is not known how long Tolo will continue to live, Mohseni has used social media to protest against the beatings of journalists and to pay tribute to a journalist working with the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan who was killed in a Taliban insurgency. Panjshir, the country’s last opponents.

Tolo will continue to work outside Kabul for a long time, he said, adding: “There are a lot of other people who want to stay and work, and we have used a lot of new people,” including many women.

But if security or independence is compromised, jobs are transferred. “We have no net, no government, no government, no police,” he said. It’s really hard for us. ”

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