Journalism in Afghanistan: interview with a refugee journalist
He is a young Afghan journalist, born in the southwestern city of Ghazni, who left Afghanistan for political reasons. Currently a refugee, he does not feel safe to say where or how he lives. For the sake of the safety of some of his family and friends still living in the country, he also asked us not to say his name as we found him, where or how this interview was conducted.
A law graduate from Kabul University, he has contributed reporting and articles to Afghan and international media. His most recent work was with Agence France-Presse (AFP), after the fall of Kabul and before he left Afghanistan in 2021, with Qatar as his first destination.
As a journalist, lawyer, and critic of the war and the Taliban, he has denounced the situation of conflicts and violations of human rights and freedom of the press that have undermined democracy in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. Some of these texts were written together with other journalists, whose names he also cannot mention for security reasons. Read more in the interview below.
Enio Moraes Júnior — Some time ago you were forced to leave your country. And this is related to your profession, your journalistic commitment. What really happened and at what moment did you decide: now I have to leave Afghanistan?
Afghan journalist — I think everything came with the fall of the previous government. It was a moment we knew everything fell apart. But personally I was still committed to working in Afghanistan. I was planning to teach students voluntarily along with working as a journalist. But working with AFP made me understand very soon that things are going to be terrible for journalists there. I remember days when I used to discuss my colleagues ways we could protect ourselves through being uncritical, not covering certain events like anti-Taliban protests and more. At some point I felt that I am given two choices: either stay in Afghanistan and censor yourself, or leave the country. Death at the hands of the Taliban was another choice. Then I left.
EMJ — You grew up in wartime, in your country, just as journalists Phil Grabsky and Shoaib Sharafi show us in their award-winning report on the life of young Mir Hussein, Aufgewachsen in Afghanistan (WDR, Art: 2022). How has this…