Reporter Says Taliban Compelled Her to Publicly Retract Correct Articles

Reporter Says Taliban Compelled Her to Publicly Retract Correct Articles

The Taliban compelled an established battle 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 newest crackdown on press freedom in Afghanistan.

The reporter, Lynne O’Donnell, an Australian who writes for Overseas Coverage and different publications, defined her instances on Wednesday, after she had safely left Afghanistan.

“They dictated. I tweeted,” she wrote on Twitter. “They didn’t love it. Deleted, edited, re-tweeted. Made video of me pronouncing 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 compelled marriages via Taliban warring parties and the violence dealing with L.G.B.T.Q. folks residing in Afghanistan. She wrote that one intelligence officer had advised her that “there are not any gays in Afghanistan,” whilst every other had advised her that he would kill somebody he discovered was once homosexual.

A spokesman for the Taliban didn’t straight away reply to a request for remark.

The compelled retraction via a Western journalist underscores the expanding restrictions at the press in Afghanistan, the place new management that promised to permit media freedom is as an alternative harassing and detaining newshounds.

A United International locations file launched Wednesday discovered that within the 10 months because the Taliban took regulate of Afghanistan, 173 newshounds and media staff had been topic to human rights violations, together with arrests, torture and threats. Six newshounds had been killed in that duration, 5 of them via ISIS militants, and the opposite from unclear instances.

“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 numerous censorship,” stated Susanna Inkinen, an Afghanistan adviser for World Media Make stronger, 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 file, how they file,” she stated. “There are problems folks don’t quilt anymore.”

Ms. Inkinen stated she wasn’t conscious about every other case by which a reporter have been compelled to publicly stroll again reporting.

In one of the most coerced tweets, posted on Tuesday, Ms. O’Donnell wrote: “l say sorry for three or 4 stories written via me accusing the prevailing government of forcefully marrying teenage ladies and the use of teenage ladies as sexual slaves via Taliban commanders. This was once a premeditated strive at personality assassination and an affront to Afghan tradition.”

In every other, she stated: “Those tales had been written with none cast evidence or foundation, and with none effort to ensure circumstances 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 via Ms. O’Donnell’s paintings and its proceeding protection of Afghanistan.

“The truth that the Taliban compelled her to retract her reporting by means of a tweet speaks for itself,” Mr. Agrawal stated.

He added: “We can proceed to file on Afghanistan from afar and put up professional research as we now have lengthy carried out. Lynne’s ordeal is affirmation that reporting from inside of Afghanistan is changing into increasingly more unhealthy.”

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 handiest coverage is that they’re determined for diplomatic reputation that can give them legitimacy as the federal government of Afghanistan, and so they 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 final 12 months.

She returned to Kabul, the capital, on Sunday to look what had came about to the rustic within the 12 months since she left.

She stated native newshounds have been detained, crushed and killed, with many leaving the rustic.

“Their media organizations had been closed or compelled to simply accept no matter line the Taliban offers them,” Ms. O’Donnell stated, including of the protection: “It’s a black hollow. The sunshine has long past out.”

John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, stated each Afghan and global newshounds confronted expanding restrictions.

“To human rights teams, what’s maximum alarming is that the limitations make it tougher and tougher to grasp what’s occurring across the nation on a day by day foundation,” he stated.

Mr. Sifton stated that whilst it was once a priority that Ms. O’Donnell have been detained, the higher dangers had been to folks she had spoken with and the native group of workers who had labored together with her and remained in Afghanistan.

“There are nonetheless operating Afghan newshounds seeking to do their process, and they’re dealing with a long way higher threats than any of the expatriates,” he stated.

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