How can a journalist prevent a feeling of inaction and despair when a dictatorial regime seizes power and a violent clampdown on press freedom means that reporting on injustices against citizens becomes unfeasible and life-threatening at a time their job is more urgent than ever? Abbas Rezaie was a staff member at the Etilaat Roz, the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, when the Taliban took over the capital on 15 August 2021. Over the ten years since its launch, the paper built a trusting readership and reputation of transparency for its reporting against corruption that held powerful figures to account. The staff, still reeling from the fact the militant Islamist movement were able to take Kabul despite being greatly outnumbered, had to decide whether and how to keep their paper operational. Rezaie filmed daily events at the paper’s small office as the city fell and the Taliban consolidated its hold on power in the immediate aftermath, resulting in the documentary The Etilaat Roz, which won Best First Feature at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.
Carmen Gray, Modern Times Review
The journalists of the Etilaat Roz newspaper are followed over two months in the autumn of 2021, as the country is taken over by the Taliban, violently suppressing the freedom of the press. In this award-winning documentary, the global political turmoil of the 2020s is captured from the point of view of journalists working at the risk of losing their own lives. Among them is Daryabi, who continues fighting the injustices of his country from his editorial desk despite growing concerns.
Omar Fasolah (translated by Virpi Sumu)