Afghanistan (MNN) — The Taliban continues cracking down on free speech in Afghanistan. New restrictions are worded so broadly many journalists fear being imprisoned for simple reporting. News organizations must show their reports to the Taliban before publishing. The radical group has arrested over 30 journalists already.
Some journalists have even suffered beatings. Others have gone into hiding. Many media outlets have begun only interviewing Taliban officials, and have avoided writing about government corruption or mistreatment of civilians.
It’s a challenging time to get media of any kind into the country. But Denise Godwin says International Media Ministries continues reaching Afghans with the hope of Jesus, especially through its Women of the Bible series. “Satellite is one of the ways that can’t be blocked in these regions of the world. Now it can be illegal to own a satellite dish. There’s a lot of rooftop gardens all over the Middle East, that are hiding satellite dishes. The numbers are pretty incredible.”
Other media distribution methods
Like many other authoritarian governments, the Taliban doesn’t like people to have internet access. Godwin says, “There is an organization of Christian hackers, if you will, that work to get things back online when governments take them down. People are working in a variety of ways. There’s also hand-to-hand delivery of digital files through Bluetooth. You can deliver videos to devices without connecting to the internet.”
The Taliban can’t stop the good news of Jesus from reaching Afghanistan. Godwin says, “One of our core values is innovation because we recognize that media is constantly changing. Access is changing.” Praise God for this continuing work.
In freer countries, Christians can take for granted the access they have to the Gospel and information, Godwin says. “But people in different parts of the world have different restrictions. And governments have different methods to close things down. It’s important to be using all means possible to reach people.”