The Taliban’s Government Media and Information Center (GMIC), Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi in September had announced publishing or broadcasting guide containing 11 directives. Few rules were similar to laws and editorial policies under Afghanistan’s elected government. Previously, the insurgent group had promised to provide a ‘free and independent’ media, however, now the scenario has changed.
Several rules gave the Taliban wide control over the content. As per the rules, media and journalists are restricted from publishing or broadcasting anything against Islam, insulting national figures, or violating privacy. Rule 4-6 instruct journalists to follow the principles of journalism and balanced news reports and to not distort content. Rules 7-8 outlines matters that have not been confirmed by officials or could harm the public’s attitude should be treated with care.
Next rule 9 stated that media outlets have to be impartial and truthful in their coverage. Lastly, rules 10 and 11 advise journalists to coordinate with the GMIC when working on a detailed report(s) on an issue.
Responding to the rules, the journalists said the directives are a sign that the Taliban plans to censor content inside the country. One of the journalists quoted, “The rules are simply mean censorship”. Another journalist said the rules created problems for them to do their job as it violates the freedom of expression.