A website has threatened to “eliminate” journalists working for two Afghan TV outlets, Tolo TV and 1TV, which it has designated as “military objectives.”
According to , the two privately-owned channels are guilty of “disrespectful and hostile actions toward the Afghan Mujahid nation.”
Therefore, “no employee, anchor, office, news team and reporter of these TV channels holds any immunity.” The statement continued:
“Hereafter all the reporters and associates of these channels will be deemed enemy personnel, all of their centres, offices and dispatched teams will be considered military objectives which will be directly eliminated.”
The Taliban accused Tolo TV and 1TV of broadcasting false news and propaganda aimed at ridiculing “religious and cultural norms” that “inject the minds of youth with dangerous substances such as irreligiousness, immorality, violence, gambling, intermixing and profanity and specifically spread propaganda filled with hate and open enmity against Jihad and Mujahideen.”
The commission also posted a video on Facebook that showed the pictures of many of the broadcasters’ staff members. That posting has since been removed.
Tolo TV, which is one of Afghanistan’s largest broadcasters, and 1TV have often been critical of the Taliban.
The group’s statement said its move was in response to the broadcasters’ coverage of the city of Kunduz, which the Taliban invaded in late September. The stations reported that Taliban fighters had raped women at a hostel, a claim denied by the Taliban and cited as an “example of propaganda by these satanic networks.”
Lotfullah Najafizada, head of current affairs for Tolo News, told the New York-based press freedom watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): “We cannot allow this threat to set our agenda for coverage in Kunduz or anywhere else. Our coverage will remain unchanged.”
The CPJ condemned the threats. “Now more than ever, needs its journalists to play a mature role in reporting on all sides of the conflict,” said its spokesman, Bob Dietz.