UNAMA statement on Taliban threats to the media
KABUL, 13 October 2015 – The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expresses its serious concern at recent statements from the Taliban that identified specific Afghan media outlets and their staff as military targets.
UNAMA urges all parties to the conflict to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression.
The Military Commission of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan issued a statement on 12 October condemning the reporting of Tolo TV and 1TV, declaring that they consider these television channels to be targets and not legitimate media outlets.
Under international humanitarian law Afghan journalists are not participants in the conflicts they cover and do not lose their status as civilians. International humanitarian law explicitly prohibits attacks against civilians and acts or threats of violence aimed at terrorizing the civilian population. Additionally, journalists are protected under international human rights law, which protects the right to freedom of expression.
The work of journalists is critical in providing independent and accurate information about the ongoing conflict. Journalists must be guaranteed the highest degree of protection by State and non-state actors.