The Taliban pressured an established warfare correspondent to publicly retract a few of her articles this week, telling her that she would cross to prison if she didn’t, she stated, in the most recent crackdown on press freedom in Afghanistan.
The reporter, Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian who writes for Overseas Coverage and different publications, defined her cases on Wednesday, after she had safely left Afghanistan.
“They dictated. I tweeted,” she wrote on Twitter. “They didn’t adore it. Deleted, edited, re-tweeted. Made video of me announcing I wasn’t coerced. Re-did that too.”
In a piece of writing on Wednesday in Overseas Coverage, Ms. O’Donnell wrote that Taliban intelligence brokers had “detained, abused and threatened me.”
She stated the Taliban had taken factor with articles that she wrote in 2021 and 2022 about the specter of pressured marriages by means of Taliban opponents and the violence dealing with L.G.B.T.Q. other folks residing in Afghanistan. She wrote that one intelligence officer had advised her that “there are not any gays in Afghanistan,” whilst some other had advised her that he would kill any person he realized was once homosexual.
A spokesman for the Taliban didn’t in an instant reply to a request for remark.
The pressured retraction by means of a Western journalist underscores the expanding restrictions at the press in Afghanistan, the place new management that promised to permit media freedom is as a substitute harassing and detaining newshounds.
A United Countries record launched Wednesday discovered that within the 10 months because the Taliban took keep an eye on of Afghanistan, 173 newshounds and media employees had been topic to human rights violations, together with arrests, torture and threats. Six newshounds had been killed in that duration, 5 of them by means of ISIS militants, and the opposite from unclear cases.
“What the Taliban management says isn’t consistent with how the lower-level Taliban act towards the media, so the location is getting worse, with a large number of censorship,” stated Susanna Inkinen, an Afghanistan adviser for Global Media Enhance, a nonprofit.
She stated the volume of freedom that newshounds had was once dependent at the province and the native Taliban. “Individuals are a lot more cautious what they record, how they record,” she stated. “There are problems other folks don’t quilt anymore.”
Ms. Inkinen stated she wasn’t conscious about every other case through which a reporter were pressured to publicly stroll again reporting.
Reporting From Afghanistan
In one of the vital coerced tweets, posted on Tuesday, Ms. O’Donnell wrote: “l ask for forgiveness for three or 4 studies written by means of me accusing the existing government of forcefully marrying teenage women and the use of teenage women as sexual slaves by means of Taliban commanders. This was once a premeditated try at personality assassination and an affront to Afghan tradition.”
In some other, she stated: “Those tales had been written with none cast evidence or foundation, and with none effort to ensure cases thru on-site investigation or face-to-face conferences with alleged sufferers.”
Ravi Agrawal, the editor in leader of Overseas Coverage, stated the newsletter stood by means of Ms. O’Donnell’s paintings and its proceeding protection of Afghanistan.
“The truth that the Taliban pressured her to retract her reporting by way of a tweet speaks for itself,” Mr. Agrawal stated.
He added: “We can proceed to record on Afghanistan from afar and post professional research as we’ve lengthy carried out. Lynne’s ordeal is affirmation that reporting from within Afghanistan is changing into increasingly bad.”
In an interview from Pakistan on Wednesday, Ms. O’Donnell stated the ordeal had lasted about 4 hours.
“The one factor I had in my thoughts that was once my most effective coverage is that they’re determined for diplomatic reputation that may give them legitimacy as the federal government of Afghanistan, they usually don’t have that,” she stated.
Ms. O’Donnell, who now lives in London, was once the Afghanistan bureau leader for The Related Press and Agence France-Presse from 2009 to 2017. She additionally reported from the rustic within the lead-up to the withdrawal of U.S. forces remaining yr.
She returned to Kabul, the capital, on Sunday to peer what had came about to the rustic within the yr since she left.
She stated native newshounds were detained, overwhelmed and killed, with many leaving the rustic.
“Their media organizations had been closed or pressured to just accept no matter line the Taliban provides them,” Ms. O’Donnell stated, including of the protection: “It’s a black hollow. The sunshine has long gone out.”
John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, stated each Afghan and world newshounds confronted expanding restrictions.
“To human rights teams, what’s maximum alarming is that the constraints make it more difficult and more difficult to grasp what’s happening across the nation on a daily foundation,” he stated.
Mr. Sifton stated that whilst it was once a priority that Ms. O’Donnell were detained, the higher dangers had been to other folks she had spoken with and the native personnel who had labored along with her and remained in Afghanistan.
“There are nonetheless running Afghan newshounds looking to do their activity, and they’re dealing with some distance higher threats than any of the expatriates,” he stated.