Media Access and Fundamental Freedoms in Afghanistan

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

The United States and the international community are paying close attention to the Taliban’s actions inside Afghanistan, and it is with alarm and deep concern we learned of the Taliban’s decision to stifle the Afghan people’s access to independent, objective, international media sources.

Media outlets such as the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and Deutsche Welle have reported that their local broadcasting partners have been prevented from airing their programming in the country due to new, restrictive, and unpublished guidelines from the Taliban.

The United States is committed to supporting the right of freedom of expression the world over, especially for journalists and human rights defenders, to operate freely without fear of violence against them.

In addition to this restrictive new media policy, the Taliban continue to move Afghanistan in the wrong direction by failing to uphold commitments they have made, including their March 23 decision to prevent girls from attending secondary school.  Each of these actions alone is alarming, but combined, they make clear the Taliban are not living up to the essential commitments they made to the Afghan people and the international community.

Education and freedom of expression are human rights held by every person in Afghanistan. These are not Western values or concessions to the international community; they are human rights and essential to a peaceful and prosperous Afghan society, which is something the Taliban claim to desire. We urge the Taliban to cease these infringements on the rights of Afghans, and we continue to stand with the Afghan people.