Media Unions Call on Biden for Support for Journalists Fleeing Afghanistan
August 23, 2021
Today, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and four other unions representing journalists and media workers urged President Joe Biden to support journalists who are desperately trying to flee Afghanistan. The text of the letter is below.
Dear President Biden,
Our unions represent thousands of journalists in the United States and many who are currently working for U.S.-based employers overseas. We have watched the rapid deterioration of the situation inside Afghanistan with great concern for everyone involved.
Journalists from Afghanistan and many countries are being directly targeted by forces interested in controlling dissent and the flow of information. Over the past few days, more than 140 media outlets have either been closed or forcibly turned over to Taliban control. Women journalists are being banned from working and many are fearful for their lives. On Thursday, German news organization Deutsche Welle said that Taliban fighters killed the relative of one of their journalists the fighters were targeting.
The United States government must stand behind a free press. We now ask for your administration’s support for our colleagues and journalists overseas who are desperately trying to flee Afghanistan. We call on your administration to facilitate the safe transit of all journalists, interpreters, translators, camera crews, support staff and their families to protected areas of the U.S.-controlled airport in Kabul and to facilitate the movement of those journalists and their families out of Afghanistan.
Beau Willimon, President, Writers Guild of America, East
Gabrielle Carteris, President, Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
Jon Schleuss, President, The NewsGuild-CWA
Charlie Braico, President, National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA
Larry Goldbetter, President, National Writers Union