Defend the Afghan Press

"Hailed as a major success of five years of democracy-building, media freedom in Afghanistan is under increasing pressures," writes Alisa Tang. A spokesperson for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said, "We've moved from an open media environment to a state-controlled media environment." A proposed law would increase government power over media outlets and make reporting "humiliating and offensive" news a criminal offense. The law "is being pushed by former warlords-turned-politicians who would rather have past deeds be forgotten," according to the head of the Afghan Journalists' Association. Meanwhile, highly-regarded Afghan journalist Ajmal Naqshbandi remains missing, weeks after being kidnapped by the Taliban. Ajmal was working with an Italian reporter, who was released after a controversial prisoner swap. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Western reporters who have worked with Ajmal are leading the campaign for his release, notes CJR Daily.