New York, ANI. Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday (local time) expressed concern about the Taliban imposing tough new media guidelines in Afghanistan that specifically harm women. HRW said in a statement that Taliban intelligence officials have issued death threats to journalists who have criticized Taliban officials and that journalists are required to submit all reports for approval before publication.

The rights group said that under new guidelines from the Vice and Vertue ministry, women in Afghanistan have been banned from appearing in television dramas. Women journalists and presenters have also been ordered to wear headscarves on screen, although the guidelines do not say what type of cover to use. Reporters say some of the rules are vague and subject to interpretation.

The latest set of Taliban guidelines issued to Afghan television channels includes eight new rules. These include banning films deemed to be against Sharia principles or Islamic law and Afghan values, while prohibiting revealing of intimate parts of men’s bodies, the report said.

HRW’s Associate Asia Director, Patricia Gassman, said: “The Taliban’s new media rules and threats against journalists reflect a broader effort to silence all criticism of the Taliban regime.” She said the disappearance of women’s place in media and art is disastrous.

Several journalists said they were summoned by local authorities soon after publishing the report on the Taliban. A reporter who complained about Taliban searches and beatings of people said that the deputy governor called him to his office and told him that if he broadcast something like this again, ‘he would bring me to the town square’. Will hang up.

Other media workers have reported that heavily armed Taliban intelligence officers visited their offices and warned journalists not to use the word ‘Taliban’ in their reporting, but to refer to the ‘Islamic Emirate’ in all publications. .

Many media outlets have closed their offices out of fear and are publishing only online. “The reality for Afghanistan is that journalists live in fear of the authorities,” Gassman said.

Edited By: Nitin Arora