Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint on the road in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. The Taliban wrested back control of Afghanistan nearly 20 years after they were ousted in a U.S.-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks. Their return to power has pushed many Afghans to flee, fearing reprisals from the fighters or a return to the brutal rule they imposed when they last ran the country. (AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi)

The US is failing Afghan journalists

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

Many journalists have fled Afghanistan since the Taliban took power, but many more—including ones who worked for U.S.-funded outlets—are still struggling to get out, with little help from the Biden administration to help them reach safety. “The president and his team promised to support press freedom and the rights of journalists around the world. In Afghanistan, they have failed the test,” writes CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Within Afghanistan, journalists continue to report the news amid threats. CPJ spoke with Saad Mohseni, CEO of the Moby Group, which owns and operates Afghanistan’s biggest news and entertainment networks, TOLO News and TOLO TV, about Afghanistan’s new media environment under the Taliban rule.

Working with media organizations and governments, CPJ has helped support hundreds of evacuations of journalists in Afghanistan. We continue to devote our limited resources to help journalists in Afghanistan when possible. Read this Q&A with CPJ Emergencies Director Maria Salazar Ferro about CPJ’s efforts to support journalists in Afghanistan.

Global press freedom updates

  • CPJ disappointed by U.S. appeals court ruling in Jamal Khashoggi lawsuit
  • Iran arrests financial reporter Amir-Abbas Azarmvand on security charges
  • Peruvian journalist Carlos Yofré López convicted in one criminal defamation case, on trial in another
  • Belarus Supreme Court dissolves Belarusian Association of Journalists
  • Zimbabwe journalist Elizabeth Mashiri detained and charged for filming police clash with vendors
  • Sri Lankan journalist Keerthi Ratnayake detained under anti-terror act
  • Nicaraguan authorities charge journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro with financial crimes


A screenshot of Venezuelan journalist Luz Mely Reyes—a 2018 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee—at a press conference hosted by the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on August 31, 2021. (National Press Club/YouTube)

Earlier this week, CPJ co-sponsored a press conference hosted by the National Press Club featuring leading journalists from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela describing the growing press crackdowns by governments across Latin America. Missed it? Catch video of the conversation here and explore our ongoing reporting on press freedom threats in the Americas.

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