The UJF has called on Finland to take account of the tough situation facing journalists and media workers in Afghanistan and where possible to grant them visas to Finland. In an appeal sent today to Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, the union also points out the imperative for evacuations.
The situation of human rights and freedom of expression in Afghanistan has further deteriorated under Taliban rule. Journalists and media workers have been arrested, threatened and killed. Many journalists are unable to do their work. Journalists’ organisations in Finland and other countries receive daily requests for help from the country.
The situation of women journalists is particularly hard. In May 2022, the Taliban demanded that all women working in the electronic media cover their faces, and many have been fired from their jobs.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) estimates that about 1,000 journalists have already left the country. They have moved to neighbouring Pakistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere. Even in these countries, journalists are not safe and are threatened with forced repatriation.
Finland has financed the training of women journalists from its development cooperation funds. Now, many of these Finnish-trained journalists and their colleagues are in danger of their lives simply because they are defending the same values that Finland stands for: human rights, equality and democracy.