Some media are forced to pay ‘tax’ for Taliban while they legally pay taxes to the government too, according the owners of some media outlets in the southern Ghazni province.
For maintaining the freedom of expression and the safety of their employees, every media owners have already paid about 200 thousand Pakistani RS as what the Taliban say ‘Tax” to the militant group.
“Some ‘taxes’ have been imposed by the armed opposition groups which also includes media this year. We received calls from the militants threatening us to pay the taxes”, said an owner of a media outlet in Ghazni who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, some institutions supporting media in the country express it as a huge harm to the freedom of expression and urge government to prevent such extortions against media.
“Protecting the freedom of speech is a responsibility of Afghan government. Whenever the freedom of speech is harmed, it means that the government is failing to do so,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the Chairman of NAI supporting open media in Afghanistan.
Sediqullah Tawhidi, a member of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee further cited some security officials that they have “assured of Afghan security forces will protect any media whenever come under threat”. He further added that the media need to not pay a single Afghani as ‘tax’ to the insurgents.
Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important achievements after the Taliban’s ouster. Afghan media and journalists have paid many huge prices during the post-Taliban era.
In addition to many cases of violence against journalists, over 50 journalists have lost their lives while undertaking the duty of sharing news to the public.