Hamisha Bahar
Hamisha Bahar radio station staffers seen working inside a broadcast control room in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on December 11, 2021. The Taliban provincial police shut down the station on August 1, 2023, after the broadcaster held a journalism training workshop for both male and female journalists. (AFP/Wakil Kohsar)

Taliban shuts down Afghan broadcaster Hamisha Bahar over mixed-gender journalism training 

New York, August 3, 2023—Taliban authorities must stop their relentless crackdown on the media in Afghanistan and allow private broadcaster Hamisha Bahar Radio and TV to continue its work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.

On Sunday, July 30, about 20 members of the Taliban provincial police raided the office of Hamisha Bahar Radio and TV in Jalalabad city, in eastern Nangarhar province, after receiving information about a journalism training workshop attended by both male and female journalists from the broadcaster, according to news reports and a journalist familiar with the situation, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal. On Tuesday, armed members of the Taliban provincial police then shuttered the broadcaster’s operations and sealed its office, according to those sources.

“The Taliban must allow the broadcaster Hamisha Bahar Radio and TV to resume operations promptly and ensure its employees, including female journalists, are allowed unfettered access to professional training,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “It is appalling that the Taliban cracked down on a media outlet because of women’s participation at a journalism training session. Denying women of their rights has become the hallmark of the Taliban regime.”

Hamisha Bahar Radio and TV has 35 employees, including nine women, according to the journalist who spoke with CPJ. Under the Taliban, women face severe restrictions on education and employment, which the United Nations says have increased in recent months.

CPJ contacted Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid for comment via messaging app but received no response.

In August 2022, CPJ published a special report about the media crisis in Afghanistan showing a rapid deterioration in press freedom characterized by censorship, arrests, assaults, and restrictions on women journalists since the Taliban retook control of the country in 2021.