LONDON: Kabul-based independent news agency TOLO News announced on Wednesday that it will “remain committed to journalism” despite the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Saad Mohseni, CEO of Moby Group, which owns TOLO News in Afghanistan, said in an opinion piece for The Washington Post that his news agency will continue to relay news from within the country.
“This is not the moment for the world to look away. This moment is a test for both the international community and the Taliban. The Afghan media will be the world’s eyes and the voice for Afghans,” he added.
“We have a commitment to our citizens, especially the young,” he said. “Afghanistan has a median age of 18. These Afghans represent the gains of the past two decades. They’re not going anywhere.”
As the Taliban seize control of the country, journalists and reporters who have been the target of militant attacks over the years are fearing for their futures.
Western media agencies and rights groups have urged their governments to evacuate Afghan journalists and provide them with a safe passage out of the country.
Three major US news organizations — The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal — urged US President Joe Biden on Monday to evacuate Afghan colleagues and associates of their journalists.
Similarly, leading German newspapers and media organizations also urged Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday to evacuate journalists from Afghanistan.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Afghanistan 122nd out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.
In the past 20 years, at least 85 journalists have been killed in relation to their work, with five being killed in 2020 alone.