Three media directors and a journalist have been detained by the local administration of the Taliban’s Vice and Virtue police in Khost province, according to a press release from the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC).
The four men arrested are the editor-in-chief of Gharghasht Radio and TV Sakhi Sarwar Miakhil, editor-in-chief of Radio Volas Ghag Mohammaduddin Shah Khiali, editor-in-chief of Radio Cheenar Pamir Andish, and Radio Nan reporter Abdul Rahman Ashna.
The men were summoned to Khost’s Vice and Virtue department on Monday evening and were subsequently detained, the AFJC said in a press release.
The AFJC has expressed its concern over these actions and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all four media staff.
The Vice and Virtue department has accused the media directors of not adhering to the media principles set forth by the Taliban’s de facto government in their programs.
Rukhshana Media understands that the primary reason for the arrests is the broadcasting of music by the four media workers. Local Taliban officials in Khost province have previously warned media outlets against broadcasting music.
Shabir Ahmed Usmani, head of Information and Culture for the Taliban in Khost, was quoted in the AFJC press release saying that the media workers have not not detained but were called to the department to “share some important issues.”
The AFJC has emphasized that, according to mass media law, journalists are free to practice their professions, and government officials should support them rather than create restrictions or threats.
Only last month the Taliban’s Ministry of Information and Culture announced a plan to address ongoing complaints by media workers of harassment through the Media Complaints and Violations Commission. It said at the time that no other department has the right to interfere in media affairs or the work of journalists.
The AFJC has recorded at least 237 cases of media and journalist freedom violations, including 94 cases of journalist detention, where arrest procedures have not been followed nor passed through the Media Complaints and Violations Commission.