British media reiterate call to evacuate Afghan journalists | Afghanistan
British media again urged the government to evacuate Afghan journalists and translators who worked with British media, with many local employees fearing retaliation from the Taliban.
Dozens of local reporters and producers associated with British organizations remain in Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul on Sunday. This month, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab vowed to consider relocating local journalists to the UK on an “exceptional basis” if there was evidence that they were under imminent threat in because of their involvement with Great Britain.
However, sources in Kabul suggested that over the past week the British government had not evacuated any Afghan journalists linked to the British media. By comparison, the US military has already started sending local personnel who worked for US news organizations. like the Washington Post Out of the country.
Earlier this month, the Guardian led a coalition of British newspapers and broadcasters in a call for the government to expand its refugee visa program for Afghans. Now representatives from the Guardian, Observer, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Economist, Mail on Sunday, Sun, Sunday Telegraph, Sky News and ITN have written to Boris again. Johnson and Rabb to demand rapid progress in ensuring the safety of staff who have worked for UK media organizations.
In the letter, they said: “When the British media wrote to you earlier this month about the Taliban’s grave threat to the Afghan journalists and translators who had worked with us, you responded almost immediately. You recognized their vital contribution to a free press to cover the British mission in Afghanistan and promised your colleagues in danger a path to safety. President [Joe] Biden did the same in the United States.
“But now the Taliban have arrived in Kabul and our colleagues are trapped there. With the resumption of evacuation flights, we need you to keep your promise to protect those who have worked with journalists and to bring them to safety outside of Afghanistan. As you have no doubt seen, our American colleagues have asked for and expect the same. In view of the threats to the safety of Afghan journalists, we call on the UK government to urgently take these steps to protect our colleagues. “
Last month Raab said: “The vibrant Afghan media has been one of the greatest successes in Afghanistan over the past 19 years, and it should be celebrated and protected.
He acknowledged the threat to Afghan staff who have worked for British media in Afghanistan, “in particular the risk of retaliation they face from the Taliban for their association with the UK.”
Rabb said: “Under existing programs, we are able to review individual cases of exceptional relocation when there is evidence that they are under imminent threat due to the nature of their engagement. with the United Kingdom. Journalists (and those who support them) may be eligible for our support, depending on the individual circumstances that apply.
The Taliban have so far attempted to present themselves as a friend of the Afghan media, allowing its representatives to be interviewed by female TV presenters and insisting that they welcome journalists. However, there are doubts whether this attitude represents a long-term attitude change, with female reporters fleeing their homes for fear of reprisal.