Violence against journalists in Afghanistan is increasing

Yesterday tens of Journalists, journalism associations and social activist gathered in parke-zarnegar to ask justice for Amin Babak a Kabul TV reporter who was punched in face on last Wednesday night by a bodyguard detailed to Nazir Ahmad Ahmadzai, the second deputy speaker of the Lower House.
Abdul Mujib Khalwatgar, the executive director of Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan condemned the action and said violence against journalists should be punished in accordance with the law. NAI also reported a 64 percent increase of violence against journalists in Afghanistan in 2014. according to this report 2014 had been the worst year for reporters in Afghanistan.

Journalists have paid a high price in Afghanistan since 2001. At least 33 have been killed in connection with the work. They include 15 foreign journalists – four German, two French, two Italian, two Swedish, one Australian, one Canadian, one Norwegian, one American, and one British. Most of these murders are still unpunished.

NAI director Sediquallah Tawhidi says that eight journalists had been killed in 2014 in Afghanistan.

Last year human rights watch in Afghanistan in a 48 pages reports announced that government, politicians and governmental organizations did the highest threat against journalists in Afghanistan. ” Afghanistan efforts for freedom of speech and its achievements will be affected by the increasing of violence against journalists” announced human rights watch.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has nonetheless written a letter of commitment to support free media and journalists that has been endorsed by Abdullah Abdullah, his chief executive in the national unity government. It aims to render justice and end in impunity, and to reopen the cases of journalists who have been murdered in the past ten years.

war crimes

Destabilized by an increasingly violent civil war, Afghanistan finds its extremely difficult to protect journalists. Since the start of this spring, Taliban attacks have been directly targeting foreign civilians, regarded by the Taliban as “citizens of occupying countries” and as “state collaborators.”

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has reported a record high number of 2,937 civilian casualties during the first four months of 2015 (974 civilian deaths and 1,963 injured) – a 16 percent increase over the same period in 2014.

On 31 May, UNAMA human rights director Georgette Gagnon described these attacks as war crimes.

beside what human rights watch announced about the violence against journalists, a sector of the government is simultaneously holding peace talks with these criminals. Most of the slain journalists were directly killed by the Taliban, who are waging a war opposed to the Afghan people’s desire for peace and democracy. Afghanistan’s recent history has clearly shown that peace is impossible without justice.

At a meeting with prosecutors on 30 November 2014, First Vice-President Abdul Rachid Dostom formally asked the attorney-general to reopen all the cases of murdered journalists. He also requested the creation of a commission to monitor these cases and asked to be kept informed about progress in the investigations.

Social Media new rules

Media influencers are worried about the future of freedom of speech in Medias. Despite all, Mujgan mustafavi new deputy of publication of ministry of information and culture, announced in “Media week” that Afghanistan government will issue rules to use social media. “this rules will support personal privacy and prevent desecration of civilians and its will not limit freedom of speech or access to the social medias at all”. she added.

she also said: ten years before a small group of people had access to the internet but now the number increases to millions of afghans and social media is affecting Afghan life style and even politics, this rules are to support the right of social media users in Afghanistan.

Written by N. Farzad

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