February 03, 2023

Freedom of expression and media bias in Afghanistan

Freedom of expression and media bias in Afghanistan

By: Muhammad Jalal

Media is very important and keeps us informed about what is happening in our surroundings. Media plays a vital role in the spread of information. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always supported media and press freedom in Afghanistan and ever since the establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, a separate dedicated commission is working to give accurate information to outside world and locals in Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan believes in freedom of expression as per the guidelines and teachings of Islam and the cultural and social values of Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always allowed journalists to report the situation in the territories under their control and given protection to all journalists whether they are local or international.

After the American invasion in Afghanistan, the so-called champions of freedom of expression started their propaganda war against the religious and cultural values of Afghanistan under the pretext of media freedom and enlightenment. Various TV and radio channels were established at that time, and thus functioning till now. Millions of dollars of funds have been allocated for the purpose of shaping the narrative of the common Afghans.

The regime has taken media and freedom of expression as a license to hurt, offend and insult communities in Afghanistan. The priority for invaders and their stooges was and is to enforce their narrative on the common people of Afghanistan by allocating millions of funds for this purpose through various means at a time when half of the population in Afghanistan lives below poverty line and doesn’t have clean drinking water and basic food items.

After the evolution of social media platforms, the corrupt, illegal and illegitimate regime in Kabul is even curbing the freedom of expression in social media. Over the course of the past few years many social media activists speaking for peace and against the criminal regime and their supporting invaders have been threatened, arrested, killed and injured.

Apart from curbing freedom of expression and forcing the narrative on common people in Afghanistan, the regime is also pressuring the media to be biased when it comes to the spread of information. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan the media working in areas under the control of the criminal regime is not impartial and just. Some of them are paid and are on the regime’s payroll while others are biased because of pressure and threats from the regime.

Media bias happens when a media outlet reports a news story in a partial or unfair manner.

At a time when the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan respects the freedom of expression and media, the blatant injustice of some media houses is also a reality. Some media houses are reporting biased information and there are hundreds of examples to justify these claims. Media houses have the obligation to present the true picture of what is happening but on the contrary, in Afghanistan, some of the media houses are spreading disinformation and propaganda at the behest of the regime in Kabul.

Many people in Afghanistan today are not even aware that some regime-controlled media is manipulating their way of thinking by doing continues propaganda against the religious, social and cultural values of Afghanistan.

Media bias is very strong these days. The civilian casualties are not reported. Whenever there are indiscriminate bombings or killings by regime or the invaders the media never reports it. The war crimes are not shown in media and the reality of invaders and their stooges is never portrayed like the way it should be.

Now as the intra Afghan peace talks are going on, it is more important than ever for the media to realize its obligations and responsibilities as per the rules of journalism to give out the correct information to everyone. The media shall tell everyone about the anti-peace elements and those trying to derail the peace talks. The media shall be impartial and let everyone know about the realities of this ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.

Journalists and media outlet owners in Afghanistan shall not fear the regime or anyone else and shall do impartial reporting specially at this time when all the Afghans are looking for peace.

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