RSF is actively advocating for a more transparent and just program to alleviate some of the mistakes made during the chaotic evacuation in August of 2021 by the international community.
Unfortunately, even with a year lead-up and a new government in place in Germany, the announcement of a new humanitarian admission program in October 2022 was, once again, haphazard and intransparent.
Regardless, RSF decided to keep playing a role in advising the German government about the situation of media and journalists under threat in Afghanistan. This doesn't mean, however, that our recommendations are being heard. Our biggest criticisms to date are that:
- the new program needs to be open to journalists who already fled to the safety of third countries within the last year since the takeover of the Taliban, and
- there needs to be open access to information and a way for Afghan civil society to better understand who is eligible for the program and who is not. Applying directly to the program without already being personally in touch with a German NGO should be possible.
RSF has created this FAQ to assist in making more details about the German government program available to the Afghan media community.
Important background information:
The new German government program is NOT a continuation of its so-called “human rights” list of 2021. It will also not repeat the mistake of closing applications without prior warning.
In August, 2021, media workers all over the country scrambled to get their names on lists of various international governments. RSF did all that was possible within the short time span to include the names of journalists who reached out to our organization. Once the lists were closed, they did not reopen. No waiting lists were honored. We know that the German government alone has received emails with many thousands of requests for evacuation which remain unanswered.
The new program announced in the Fall of 2022 will NOT honor old requests that have not been processed. There is no “Waiting List”. New program criteria mean that someone who might have been evacuated last year, today would not qualify and vice versa. Please see above for more details re: criteria.
All NEW requests for admission to the German government program will initially be vetted by German civil society organizations (so-called “authorized agencies”) that are familiar with Afghanistan's human rights, media, law and education sectors, as well as with threats posed to vulnerable groups.
RSF will assist the program by referring the cases of ALL journalists under threat that have been sufficiently verified by our organization’s country specialists. Knowing the right people or working for a large media organization is not a prerequisite to be eligible for the program. Being able to speak English is also not required, the request form can be completed in Dari. An editor from a small provincial radio station who can demonstrate how their work has put him or her at risk will be referred just as a famous on-air news personality from a national tv station might. Once referred, however, our organization has no control whatsoever over who will be chosen for the government program and when.
Key factors for eligibility for the German government program include:
- journalistic track record
- documented individual threat profile
- high exposure and visibility
Please see above to understand what TYPE OF DOCUMENTATION will be asked for.