General / 07.10.2021

The Presidents of the Nordic Journalist Unions: Our Nordic governments must act urgently to protect journalists in Afghanistan

The press freedom situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated rapidly from difficult to impossible under Taliban rule. New media regulations were introduced on September 19, placing restrictions on independent media and freedom of expression. The regulations stipulate, for instance, that stories “contrary to islam” cannot be published. The International Federation of Journalists condemned the coercive restrictions, underlining the fact that they further dismantle the foundation of sustainable independent journalism in the country.  Over 1,200 journalists have lost their jobs, and this figure is unlikely to go down as the Taliban continue to take over crucial democratic institutions in the country. At the same time, hundreds of journalists have fled or remain in hiding. Especially journalists who have previously defended journalists’ rights, worked for foreign media outlets or advocated for media freedom risk being arrested, tortured, or even killed. Female journalists are especially vulnerable under misogynistic Taliban rule. There are reports of female journalists not being allowed to work and facing intimidation, threats, and torture. Our countries top the lists of press freedom worldwide. However, thus far only a handful of journalists have received international protection in the Nordic countries. We hereby urge our governments and the international community to make sure that journalists, media workers and media advocates persecuted for carrying out their work receive the protection they deserve within the framework of international law. This means assisting in evacuating journalists; easing visa restrictions; providing safe passage, and supporting the journalists who remain in the country. As underlined by the President of the European Federation of Journalists: we owe our assistance to Afghan journalists, many of whom have taken enormous risks to keep us all informed. Press freedom is a fundamental human right and protecting it is the obligation of every country that is a signatory of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call for urgent action to help our colleagues in Afghanistan.   Hanne Aho, President of the Union of Journalists of Finland Mogens Blicher Bjerregård,  President of the Steering Committee of the European Federation of Journalists Tine Johansen, President of the Union of Danish Journalists Dag Idar Tryggestad, President of the Norwegian Union of Journalists Ulrika Hyllert, President of the Swedish Union of Journalists Sigríður Dögg Auðunsdóttir, President of the Union of Icelandic Journalists  

See also

All news

Historic AV translation collective agreement: includes minimum rates for self-employed

The parties to the audio-visual (AV) translator agencies’ collective agreement have given their approval to the settlement negotiated on 19 April. This collective agreement is historic: for the first time in Finland, solo self-employed people’s rates have been agreed in a collective agreement.

Union of Journalists in Finland donates further 5000 euros to journalists and media in Ukraine

The UJF is making an additional donation of 5000 euros to journalists and media in Ukraine. The union’s board has decided to make the donation on the first anniversary of the war, which was launched by Russia on 24 February last year. The funding will be channelled through the Ukraine Safety Fund. In March 2022, […]

UJF withdraws from the International Federation of Journalists

The Union of Journalists in Finland has today announced its withdrawal from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic journalists’ unions also announced their withdrawal from the federation at the same time.