News - Afghanistan
MPs in the Wolesi Jirga, (Lower House of Parliament) on Wednesday criticized the Taliban's threat against TOLO TV and 1TV and said the insurgent group's move is an attempt to stop the two channels from reporting on the group's crimes committed around the country.
Following mounting criticism by the Afghan government and the international community over the Taliban's anti-media move, lawmakers on Wednesday said any attack on the media would constitute a war crime.
The Taliban on Monday issued strong threats against TOLO TV and 1TV and put these two most-watched channels on their hit list.
In addition they issued death threats against all staff members and threatened to target the media organizations' facilities.
The lawmakers however announced their support to the TV channels and urged the government to take every possible measure to protect the lives of journalists – whom the Taliban declared their "military objectives."
According to the MPs, the Taliban does not want the two TV channels to reveal their crimes to the nation.
"Our media outlets are being threatened because they showed the people the crimes committed by the Taliban," said female lawmaker Raihana Azad said.
"We announce our support to the media and we want them to continue to reveal the crimes committed by the Taliban."
Echoing Afghan media's unanimous condemnation of the threat on Tuesday, where they made it clear that any attack on the media would be construed as a war crime, the MPs went one step further and said the threat itself was a crime.
"Taliban criminals threatened our two important TOLO and 1TV channels and this is a crime," MP Iqbal Kohistani told the session.
Calling Taliban and Daesh the servants of Pakistan, the MPs demanded the international community put pressure on Pakistan and Taliban to stop their "cold war."
"Today everyone can clearly see the interference of Pakistan into Afghanistan matters. Taliban, Daesh and other groups are getting support from Pakistan," said MP Osman Farahi.
In addition, the Speaker of the House Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi asked security institutions to ensure the safety of journalists and media organizations.
"These two channels have done nothing except reveal the crimes of the Taliban," Ibrahimi said, urging the government to take immediate action to safeguard the media organizations.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) have also expressed their serious concerns at the recent threats against the two TV channels.
In a statement issued by UNAMA, the organization urged all parties to the conflict to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression.
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