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Lecture/Presentation/Talk

Media Blackout: The Taliban's War on Information in Afghanistan

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Light lunch offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Join us to learn about the state of media freedom in Afghanistan under Taliban rule from Faisal Karimi, a senior journalist and scholar in exile. Karimi is the founder and director of the Afghanistan Institute for Research and Media Studies, which includes the Afghanistan Women's News Agency (AWNA) and Kaashi Media.

Following the U.S. forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban's assumption of power on August 15, 2021, the once-free and dynamic media landscape in the country collapsed overnight. Over the past two and a half years, the Taliban regime has implemented various media capture strategies to legitimize their rule and control the narrative, including severe restrictions on women journalists, censorship, bans on music, monopolization of information, suppression of journalists, shutdowns of opposing media outlets, criminal prosecution of journalists, and the establishment of Taliban-controlled media. 

During this period, journalists and media outlets in Afghanistan have faced significant obstacles and infringements on their rights and legal protections, severely limiting their freedom and independence. In this challenging environment, the Afghan media community faces many ambiguities and uncertainties that may darken the future of journalism and news media in Afghanistan.

Before the Taliban takeover, Karimi also taught in the School of Journalism and Communication at his alma mater, Herat University in western Afghanistan. In 2021, after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and increasing threats to journalists, Karimi helped employees of his women’s news agency — a team of female journalists and producers — escape to the U.S. and Canada.

He continues to run his media organizations in exile, reflecting the voices of Afghan women and providing much-needed information and news to people in Afghanistan. As a 2024 John S. Knight fellow at Stanford, he is exploring innovative ways to sustain exiled media in the United States.

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