Afghan journalists find freedom of expression in Canada

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Ottawa, Ontario – The Government of Canada is working hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals as quickly and safely as possible. Canada has now welcomed a total of 12,605 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.

This week as we honour World Press Freedom Day (May 3), we spotlight journalists and highlight the challenges of fostering the freedom of expression through the press. Canada is proud to be among the first countries to have launched a special humanitarian resettlement program that specifically helps the most vulnerable Afghans, including journalists.

We recognize the bravery and commitment of Afghan journalists who have overcome tremendous challenges and have now settled in Canada. They are freely using their voices to make significant contributions to their communities and the field of journalism. We are proud to acknowledge the following brave individuals who now have the ability to pursue their choice of profession in Canada, where freedom of the press is highly valued and an important part of our country’s democracy:

  • Ghousuddin Frotan is an Afghan journalist who was based in Kandahar and covered the southern region of Afghanistan for the Wall Street Journal. He has worked for Radio Liberty, Agence France Presse and BBC Radio Pashto service. Since his arrival in Canada in January 2022, he secured a Dalla Lana Fellowship in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto and has published articles in the Toronto Star.
  • Maryam Sama is a former Afghan journalist and activist who was an outspoken member of the Afghan Parliament. She has faced many social challenges and threats for her activism. Since her arrival in Canada in March 2022, she continues to fight for the freedom of expression, in spite of the widespread censorship in Afghanistan. She hopes to expand her career in journalism in Canada.
  • Wajiha Saidy is a former Afghan journalist and media specialist who worked as a senior producer with the Moby Media Group, the largest media company in Afghanistan. In August 2021, her film production team was threatened by the Taliban, and she fled, eventually making it to safety in Ottawa, Ontario, in January 2022. She is confident that, in Canada, she can safely pursue her dreams of working in the media.

Canada’s goal of bringing at least 40,000 Afghan nationals places us amongst the top countries in the world when it comes to resettlement. We have a longstanding and proud tradition of welcoming the world’s most vulnerable, and we’ll continue working hard to bring people to Canada, including journalists.

Photos of previous Afghan arrivals are available in Dropbox for use by media. You can also monitor Canada’s progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada.

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