The Taliban Threaten Us

Fair Observer’s commitment to the truth has made us powerful enemies. We exercise prudence, but stick firmly to our principles.
Taliban boy

May 31, 2023 18:22 EDT

Dear FO° Reader,

Two weeks ago, the Taliban threatened to kill the parents of one of our authors, demanding that we pull down his articles.


The threat by the Taliban made us think deeply about our mission. What is our raison d’être? We look at the deeper issues behind the news, provide context and publish uniquely real perspectives from real people from around the world. We are a platform for voices outside the box that you would not hear elsewhere.


The Taliban threat put one of our principles in question. If we pulled down these pieces, would that set a bad precedent? Would other regimes take note and start threatening us to take down inconvenient pieces? Would right or left wing extremists turn on us?


There were many other questions that came to the fore. Is backing down under intimidation the right thing to do? Do we only publish articles from those safely secured from danger such as Sweden and Switzerland? Or confine ourselves to authors from countries where press freedom is respected?


These are not academic or philosophical questions. Countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have been threatening those who reside outside their borders. Non-state actors have been threatening authors too. We have been threatened on numerous occasions. We have ignored them and carried on.


This time, we backed down. We care deeply about the safety of our authors and their parents. We know the Taliban mean business. So, our hands were tied. Yet this has been a deeply painful decision that has given us sleepless nights.


To those of you who are at risk and want to publish with us, we suggest that you use pseudonyms. For our friends from Afghanistan, we want you to know that you are more than welcome to publish with us. We need your voices more than ever to shine the light on a fanatical, murderous and unjust regime.

Yours sincerely,

Atul Singh, Claire Price and Peter Isackson
Editorial Board of Fair Observer

We are an independent nonprofit organization. We do not have a paywall or ads. We believe news must be free for everyone from Detroit to Dakar. Yet servers, images, newsletters, web developers and editors cost money. So, please become a recurring donor to keep Fair Observer free, fair and independent.

Read from anywhere

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Support Fair Observer

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money.
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.

Will you support FO’s journalism?

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Donation Cycle

Donation Amount

The IRS recognizes Fair Observer as a section 501(c)(3) registered public charity (EIN: 46-4070943), enabling you to claim a tax deduction.

Make Sense of the World

Unique Insights from 2,500+ Contributors in 90+ Countries

Support Fair Observer

Support Fair Observer by becoming a sustaining member

Become a Member