Taliban block 23 million websites in Afghanistan for ‘immoral content’

Afghanistan’s Taliban-led interim government has blocked more than 23 million websites for posting what it considers immoral content in the year since the Taliban took over the country, a said Najibullah Haqqani, minister of communications in the Taliban administration, on Thursday.

“We have blocked 23.4 million websites. They change pages every time. So when you block one website, another one will be active,” TOLOnews quoted Acting Minister Najibullah Haqqani as speaking in a conference .

Speaking at the same conference, the interim government’s deputy communications minister, Ahmad Masoud Latif Rai, also criticized Facebook for its reluctance to cooperate with Taliban authorities on content moderation.

After the collapse of the US-backed government and the withdrawal of US troops from the country, a Taliban-led interim Afghan government came to power on August 15 last year.

The Taliban takeover triggered an economic crisis and food shortages that pushed the country to the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of Afghans have fled the country in fear of the Taliban, widespread human rights abuses and the deprivation of women and girls of their freedoms.

Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in mid-August last year, they have curtailed the rights of Afghan media and their functioning.

According to UNAMA, there have been significant changes in the country’s media landscape, including the closure of more than half of the free media, the banning of several channels and websites and the increase in work restrictions, violence and threats against journalists.

In early May, while covering a women’s protest, journalist Roman Karimi and his driver were arrested and tortured by the Taliban.

More than 45% of journalists have resigned since the Taliban took power. Ever-escalating restrictions on the media in Afghanistan have also drawn widespread criticism globally, with the United Nations (UN) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) denouncing the arrests, demanding that the terror group stop harass local journalists and stifle freedom of expression by continuing detentions and threats.

The Taliban had promised women’s rights, media freedom and amnesty to government officials at the group’s first press conference after taking power in August. However, activists, former government employees and journalists, among others, continue to face reprisals.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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