PEC demands release of Afghan scribe Mortaza Behboudi

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Press Emblem Campaign, the global media safety and rights body, demands an immediate release of Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who was arrested on 7 January by the Taliban regime in Kabul. Though Afghanistan did not report any incident of journo-murder last year, the troubled south-east Asian nation
maintains its pathetic record over media persons, hundreds of whom have already escaped the poverty-stricken country since the Taliban grabbed the power.

Recently, the Afghanistan Journalists Center called for an immediate and unconditional release of Mortaza, who possesses dual nationality (Afghan and French) for some years and is presently held in a Kabul prison. It also expressed concern that the whereabouts and the current situation of Mortaza have not been disclosed. The centre urged the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) authorities to release the award-winning journalist.

“Afghanistan continues to reflect the poor press freedom situation, where journalists are routinely facing threats, insults, detentions and physical assaults. Over 600 active Afghan media outlets now cease to operate. More than one hundred Afghan journalists were temporarily detained by the authorities last year.

The female journalists are facing the most challenging time there. We demand authorities to ensure press freedom,” said Blaise Lempen, president of PEC. The south Asia representative of PEC, Nava Thakuria revealed that Mortaza began his career as a photojournalist and later fled his country to Paris. Soon Mortaza started contributing news and articles for a number of French newspapers and news channels. Even he took assignments from various media outlets in France. With such an assignment Mortaza arrived in Kabul on 5 January and subsequently he was detained by the Taliban agencies.

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