RSF helps evacuate 202 Afghan journalists, takes 152 support measures
Since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan on 15 August 2021, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has helped to evacuate 202 Afghan journalists in danger and has carried out a total of 152 measures to provide them with emergency administrative and financial assistance.
Fearing reprisals, many journalists wanted to flee as soon as Kabul fell to the Taliban on 15 August 2021. RSF’s international secretariat and its country sections began at once to compile lists of the most vulnerable journalists and to press for their immediate evacuation from Afghanistan, along with their family members. The French, German and Spanish authorities responded to RSF’s appeals and have so far helped to get 202 Afghan journalists out of the country so that they can reach Europe safely. These evacuations have nonetheless taken place in a tense and changing political environment, their implementation has taken several months and some journalists on these lists are still waiting to be resettled in Europe.
- Based in France, RSF's international secretariat submitted a list of 80 vulnerable journalists to the French authorities. A total of 25 journalists on this list have so far been able to travel from Afghanistan to France. The other 55 reporters hope to be able to come soon. Nineteen of them are still in Afghanistan and the others are currently in third countries.
- RSF’s German section has organised the evacuation of a total of 159 journalists to Germany.
- The Spanish section has organised the evacuation of 18 journalists.
As well as helping with evacuations on the basis of the emergency lists compiled after the fall of Kabul, RSF – which is still receiving hundreds of calls for help – continues to provide assistance to journalists in Afghanistan and to those who have fled to neighbouring countries, whose security and economic situation is very precarious.
Administrative and financial assistance
After verifying that their requests for help satisfy the eligibility criteria of RSF’s mandate – namely, that they are prompted by immediate and direct threats in connection with the provision of news and information – RSF’s Assistance Desk provides Afghan journalists with help in two areas:
- Support for administrative procedures, especially visa and political asylum applications
- Financial assistance
Since 15 August 2021, the Assistance Desk at RSF’s international secretariat has so far carried out 152 actions in support of Afghan journalists in danger.
- It has disbursed 71 financial grants to help journalists meet urgent costs, for example, costs related to a recent move to a third country. The average amount of aid is 1,500 euros per journalist, for a total of 99,916 euros.
- It has also provided assistance in 81 cases with administrative procedures, especially visa and political asylum applications to the authorities in European countries.
Afghanistan has lost nearly 40% of its media outlets and more than half of its journalists since 15 August 2021, and is ranked 156th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index, 34 places lower than in 2021.