Reporter Says Taliban Compelled Her to Publicly Retract Correct Articles

Read Time:4 Minute, 21 Second

The Taliban compelled a longtime struggle correspondent to publicly retract a few of her articles this week, telling her that she would go to jail if she didn’t, she mentioned, within the newest crackdown on press freedom in Afghanistan.

The reporter, Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian who writes for International Coverage and different publications, defined her circumstances on Wednesday, after she had safely left Afghanistan.

“They dictated. I tweeted,” she wrote on Twitter. “They didn’t prefer it. Deleted, edited, re-tweeted. Made video of me saying I wasn’t coerced. Re-did that too.”

In an article on Wednesday in International Coverage, Ms. O’Donnell wrote that Taliban intelligence brokers had “detained, abused and threatened me.”

She mentioned the Taliban had taken subject with articles that she wrote in 2021 and 2022 about the specter of forced marriages by Taliban fighters and the violence dealing with L.G.B.T.Q. people residing in Afghanistan. She wrote that one intelligence officer had instructed her that “there are not any gays in Afghanistan,” whereas one other had instructed her that he would kill anybody he discovered was homosexual.

A spokesman for the Taliban didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The compelled retraction by a Western journalist underscores the growing restrictions on the press in Afghanistan, the place new management that promised to permit media freedom is as a substitute harassing and detaining journalists.

A United Nations report launched Wednesday discovered that within the 10 months for the reason that Taliban took management of Afghanistan, 173 journalists and media employees have been topic to human rights violations, together with arrests, torture and threats. Six journalists have been killed in that interval, 5 of them by ISIS militants, and the opposite from unclear circumstances.

“What the Taliban management says will not be in keeping with how the lower-level Taliban act towards the media, so the scenario is getting worse, with loads of censorship,” mentioned Susanna Inkinen, an Afghanistan adviser for Worldwide Media Help, a nonprofit.

She mentioned the quantity of freedom that journalists had was depending on the province and the native Taliban. “Persons are far more cautious what they report, how they report,” she mentioned. “There are points individuals don’t cowl anymore.”

Ms. Inkinen mentioned she wasn’t conscious of some other case during which a reporter had been compelled to publicly stroll again reporting.

In one of many coerced tweets, posted on Tuesday, Ms. O’Donnell wrote: “l apologize for 3 or 4 stories written by me accusing the current authorities of forcefully marrying teenage ladies and utilizing teenage ladies as sexual slaves by Taliban commanders. This was a premeditated try at character assassination and an affront to Afghan tradition.”

In one other, she mentioned: “These tales have been written with none stable proof or foundation, and with none effort to confirm cases via on-site investigation or face-to-face conferences with alleged victims.”

Ravi Agrawal, the editor in chief of International Coverage, mentioned the publication stood by Ms. O’Donnell’s work and its persevering with protection of Afghanistan.

“The truth that the Taliban compelled her to retract her reporting through a tweet speaks for itself,” Mr. Agrawal mentioned.

He added: “We’ll proceed to report on Afghanistan from afar and publish professional evaluation as now we have lengthy carried out. Lynne’s ordeal is affirmation that reporting from inside Afghanistan is turning into increasingly harmful.”

In an interview from Pakistan on Wednesday, Ms. O’Donnell mentioned the ordeal had lasted about 4 hours.

“The one factor I had in my thoughts that was my solely safety is that they’re determined for diplomatic recognition that may give them legitimacy as the federal government of Afghanistan, they usually don’t have that,” she mentioned.

Ms. O’Donnell, who now lives in London, was the Afghanistan bureau chief for The Related Press and Agence France-Presse from 2009 to 2017. She additionally reported from the nation within the lead-up to the withdrawal of U.S. forces final 12 months.

She returned to Kabul, the capital, on Sunday to see what had occurred to the nation within the 12 months since she left.

She mentioned native journalists had been detained, overwhelmed and killed, with many leaving the nation.

“Their media organizations have been closed or compelled to simply accept no matter line the Taliban provides them,” Ms. O’Donnell mentioned, including of the protection: “It’s a black gap. The sunshine has gone out.”

John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, mentioned each Afghan and worldwide journalists confronted growing restrictions.

“To human rights teams, what’s most alarming is that the restrictions make it more durable and more durable to know what’s occurring across the nation on a day-to-day foundation,” he mentioned.

Mr. Sifton mentioned that whereas it was a priority that Ms. O’Donnell had been detained, the better dangers have been to individuals she had spoken with and the native employees who had labored along with her and remained in Afghanistan.

“There are nonetheless working Afghan journalists attempting to do their job, and they’re dealing with far better threats than any of the expatriates,” he mentioned.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.