IFJ Presses Taliban to Ensure Work of Free Media as Pakistani Reporter Goes Missing

(FILE) A file picture taken in front of the Saudi Consulate in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, west of Paris on October 1, 2019 shows dummies with press armbands and jacket piled up by Reporters without borders (RSF) members during a protest to mark the one year of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. - The annual report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on April 19, 2021 that journalism was at least partly blocked in nearly three-quarters of the 180 countries surveyed. Its World Press Freedom Index found 73 countries "totally blocked or seriously impeded" journalism, while it was "constrained" in 59 others, adding that many governments had used the pandemic to worsen repression. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/dpa

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) raised the alarm on Monday over a Pakistani reporter who went missing after reporting live from the bomb site outside the Kabul airport, appealing to the Taliban (terrorist group, banned in Russia) to allow free and independent reporting in Afghanistan.

Muhammad Iqbal Mengal went missing after live coverage of the bombing’s aftermath outside the Kabul airport on August 26. The IFJ suspects he was detained by the Taliban, as two other Pakistani journalists were arrested on August 25 by the militants for not having approval to report, but who were released the next day.

“Arresting, abducting and requiring permission for journalists to report contradicts the core principles of an independent and free press. The IFJ urges the Taliban to ensure media can work without fear of retribution or persecution,” the statement said.

The Pakistani branch of the journalist community pressed the authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan to ensure Mengal’s safe release.

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