WAN-Ifra has appealed to news publishers worldwide to help secure meaningful work for the hundreds “likely thousands” of displaced journalists and media workers forced out of Afghanistan.
“Many members have been in touch to ask how they can support colleagues and contribute to the ongoing, desperate efforts to evacuate journalists and their families,” the association says.
Until now, all efforts have concentrated on extracting the maximum number of journalists before the deadline set by the US military of August 31, and attention has now shifted to those left behind.
“Our community has a crucial role in the weeks and months to come when attention turns from emergency evacuation to finding host countries for those forced to flee. Especially when it comes to securing meaningful work for the hundreds, likely thousands, of displaced journalists forced into exile by the dramatic resurgence of the Taliban.
“For those in a position to help even just one journalist, WAN-Ifra can support them in making that happen. We commit to coordinating with our many partners in the journalist support community to match the offers of assistance with those in need. News organisations that can employ Afghan journalists or media workers, host their families, and contribute to their resettlement, can complete this form to give us a clearer picture of what they may offer.
“At this stage, the focus is on getting people out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible to safe, albeit temporary, bases. Very soon, however, attention will shift to where these individuals and their families will move on to long-term resettlement, which countries will open their doors, and how quickly they can secure safe passage.
“WAN-Ifra works with organisations across the safety of journalists and media development fields with specific expertise and mandates to undertake the arduous task of identifying, vetting and clearing journalists to board the few remaining flights out of the country. Many of these organisations have offices in Afghanistan and local staff who have also been caught up in this terrible situation.
“The Journalists In Distress Group (notably CPJ, the Rory Peck Trust, Free Press Unlimited) have been doing an immense job of compiling lists and identifying those in need and securing flights out of Kabul; the international Safety of Journalists coalition, the ministerial-level Media Freedom Coalition, and the ACOS Alliance have, in turn, been playing their role. WAN-IFRA is an active member of all of these networks.
“Host journalists in your newsroom Conducting meaningful work and continuing to exercise skills and professional capacities are a vital part of navigating the incredible upheaval of a life of exile. If you can offer Afghan colleagues the chance to continue working as journalists, then WAN-Ifra will connect you to those looking for a new place to call home.
“Contribute funds to support journalists and their families We appreciate that not every newsroom is in the position to consider adding Afghan colleagues to their ranks. Instead, we would ask you to consider making a donation to a dedicated Afghan Media Support Fund that WAN-Ifra is administering, for use exclusively in assisting Afghan colleagues.
“This is where the WAN-Ifra community can be most effective. Therefore, we invite media professionals who wish to support this initiative to consider their internal capacities, assess what they may offer, and get in touch to discuss the details.