Romney, Klobuchar Urge Biden Administration to Support the Work of Journalists Fleeing Afghanistan
Letter follows previous request to the Administration to ensure the safe evacuation of journalists, support staff, and their families from Afghanistan

SALT LAKE CITY—U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sent a letter urging the Biden Administration to help Afghan journalists resettle and continue working. Earlier this month, Senators Romney and Klobuchar sent a letter urging the Biden Administration to ensure the safe evacuation of journalists, support staff, and their families from Afghanistan.

Writing to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the senators said, “as the Taliban takes over, there are concerns that given their long history of attacks on journalists, the Taliban will eliminate a free and open media and continue to suppress, imprison, and violently target the press.”

The senators continued, “We urge the Administration to expand partnerships with members of the media, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other concerned governments in an effort to support employment opportunities for Afghan journalists who can use their accreditations and skills to continue to provide open and transparent news on Afghanistan. Their knowledge of Afghanistan and the region is invaluable and their skills should be used to provide news not only to the people in Afghanistan but to inform those outside of the country about current events in Afghanistan.”

Full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Secretary Blinken and Secretary Mayorkas: We appreciate the continued efforts to evacuate American citizens, Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants, Priority 1 and 2 designees, vulnerable Afghans, and their families, including more than 200 journalists and support staff, from Afghanistan. As evacuation efforts continue and we welcome Afghans into the United States, we encourage you to take steps to help Afghan journalists resettle and continue their important work.

Afghan journalists served alongside their American counterparts for 20 years, risking their lives to report the truth and to hold government leaders accountable. As the Taliban takes over, there are concerns that given their long history of attacks on journalists, the Taliban will eliminate a free and open media and continue to suppress, imprison, and violently target the press.

We urge the Administration to expand partnerships with members of the media, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other concerned governments in an effort to support employment opportunities for Afghan journalists who can use their accreditations and skills to continue to provide open and transparent news on Afghanistan. Their knowledge of Afghanistan and the region is invaluable and their skills should be used to provide news not only to the people in Afghanistan but to inform those outside of the country about current events in Afghanistan. This is especially important in light of recent reports by Reporters Without Borders that the Taliban has begun imposing “very harsh constraints” on Afghan media, and an estimated 100 private media companies have shut down operations in response to the Taliban.

The U.S. is stronger and safer when our values—including defense of a free press—are protected at home and advanced as a central component of our foreign policy. We appreciate your efforts to ensure the safe evacuation and resettlement of U.S. and Afghan citizens who have supported U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, and we look forward to working with you to ensure we continue to support the fundamental values of a free press in the U.S. and around the world.