SAG-AFTRA & WGA East Join News Unions Urging President Biden To Help Journalists Fleeing Afghanistan

Protesters hold placards in support of Afghanistan during the demonstration in Haymarket. .Demonstrators marched through Central London in protest against the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and called on the UK Government to impose sanctions on Pakistan and to help the people of Afghanistan. 21 Aug 2021 Pictured: August 21, 2021, London, United Kingdom: Protesters hold a banner that says Talib Has Not Changed during the demonstration in Hyde Park..Demonstrators marched through Central London in protest against the Taliban takeover of AfghanistanMega Agency]

The presidents of five unions representing journalists are calling on President Joe Biden to support news crews and their families who are trying to flee Afghanistan.

“The United States government must stand behind a free press,” they said in a letter sent to Biden today. “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.”

The letter was signed by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, WGA East president Beau Willimon, NewsGuild president Jon Schleuss, National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter and National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians president Charlie Braico.

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Their unions, they told Biden, “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,” the letter adds. “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.”

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