Over the past several days, the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) have been working, with the support of multiple Canadian news organizations, to inform the federal government of their duty to support Afghan journalists and support staff who made our work possible.
The return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan has placed many residents of that country in grave danger. Among them are dozens of courageous Afghans who worked tirelessly to help Canadian journalists cover this tragic story over two decades. Their bravery and commitment must not be forgotten. They provided an essential service to Canadians and risked their lives in support of press freedom. We strongly urge the Government of Canada to help this group of loyal Afghans in their desperation.
Canadian news organizations are providing the information necessary to ensure the safety of Afghans who provided crucial support as journalists, drivers, translators and other service providers. Multiple journalists who reported from Afghanistan have also been in contact with our group and have supplied additional information in order to be eligible for evacuation and resettlement.
Despite this outpouring of support, our enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that we continue to hear reports that many Afghans, who have supported Canadian efforts, are hiding in fear. While they have filled out all the required paperwork, some have not been contacted by any Canadian officials. On August 19, a Canadian CC-177 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft arrived in Kabul, along with a deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel. We strongly urge Canada to build on this work and arrange safe passage for these Afghans and their families out of the country.
Given the chaos and confusion gripping Kabul, we acknowledge the difficulty of directly assisting everyone who needs our support. But we cannot abandon those Afghans who protected the lives of Canadians at their most desperate time of need.
The CAJ and CJFE will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to ensure the safe passage of Afghan journalists who have helped Canadians. We will provide additional updates over the coming days as the situation evolves.
- Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ)
- Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
- Globe and Mail
- Canadian Press
- Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)
- La Presse
- Maclean’s Magazine
- Global News
- Le Devoir
- CTV News
- Journalists for Human Rights
- The Coalition For Women In Journalism
- Canadian Coalition for World Press Freedom
- Fonds québécois en journalisme international
- The Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University
- News Media Canada
- National NewsMedia Council of Canada
- PEN Canada
- Fédération Professionnelle Des Journalistes Du Québec (FPJQ)
- CWA Canada
For further information: Brent Jolly, CAJ president: firstname.lastname@example.org or Michelle Shephard, CJFE International Committee Chair and board member: email@example.com.