Sep 8, 2021
Journalists will be free to report — and other lies the Taliban tells
Play • 35 min

"You’ve got no one left to tell the story” warns Bilal Sarwary, legendary Afghan journalist, as he flees Kabul following death threats from the Taliban. 

Bilal’s not alone. He’s part of a new generation of journalists who’ve come of age since 9/11 who’ve been forced to abandon their homes and careers reporting on their homeland.   

Those reporters who do remain in Afghanistan face an uncertain future under a regime that once banned television and the internet, and who have maintained an assassination campaign against journalists — particularly women. 

It’s a reality at odds with the reformed, liberal image a slick new Taliban PR machine is constructing. 

International correspondent Jane Ferguson (PBS, The New Yorker) calls the re-brand “a brilliant idea cooked up in Doha by Taliban leaders". But she says implementing a more moderate rule is impossible. 

While the Taliban says women are free to keep learning and working, Moby and Tolo News boss Saad Mohseni faces a world where his reporters are beaten up for doing their jobs. 

In this first episode of Journo, host Nick Bryant investigates the exodus of Afghan media, and the powerful spin from Taliban HQ that helped them claim the country. 

Journo is a production of Deadset Studios for the Judith Neilson Institute. 

Grab your press pass: Journo helps you understand how your news is made, disseminated, and consumed. 

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