Afghan Expulsion of New York Times Reporter ‘Baffling’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK—Afghan authorities expelled respected New York Times correspondent Matthew Rosenberg from the country today for a report published on Tuesday that criticized the transitioning national government, still uneasy after a disputed presidential election in June. His expulsion came on the heels of a contradicting ban from leaving the Central Asian country issued Wednesday.
The decision to throw out Rosenberg is baffling given the exponential growth of free media in the country in recent years. Afghanistan now boasts an estimated 120 new newspapers and 37 television stations. It appears that Rosenberg stepped on the wrong toes in refusing to reveal his sources for the report, which examines behind-the-scenes maneuvering for the formation of a new government.
“This is a huge step back for Afghanistan, which hasn’t expelled a reporter since the days of the Taliban,” said Suzanne Nossel, PEN American Center Executive Director. “The new government of Afghanistan will have to learn the hard way that quashing the media and free expression is an indicator of weakness and uncertainty, not strength and stability.”
Claims that Rosenberg’s reporting constitutes “espionage” are nonsensical and should be withdrawn, along with the expulsion order.
Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 3,500 American writers working to bring down barriers to free expression worldwide.