Situation for media workers in Afghanistan remains alarming

Courtesy of Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC):

Afghanistan once again listed as the most dangerous country for journalists and media workers

10 January 2019

AJSC released its yearly report today, 10 January 2019. The report depicts the status of violence and intimidation against journalists and media workers in the year 2018. It also underlines other prominent issues and happenings in the realm of media and freedom of expression in this year.

In this reporting period, AJSC documented a total of 121 cases of violence against journalists and media workers, which includes incidences of killing, injuring, intimidation, detention, abduction and so on. In the year 2018, 17 journalists were killed in Afghanistan, which, once again, makes Afghanistan the most dangerous country for journalists. Taliban and ISIS are behind at least 15 cases of killing.

Infographic from report.

The figures recorded shows 28% decrease in the incidences of violence against journalists compared to the year 2017, where AJSC recorded a total of 169 cases of violence. The incidences of killing of journalists also decreased by 15% compared to 2017, as 20 cases of killing of journalists and media workers took place in 2017. AJSC recorded a total of 11 cases of violence against female journalists and media workers in this reporting period.

“The perpetuation of high rates of violence against journalists and media workers in Afghanistan is a matter of great concern. Persistence of such vast scale of violence, particularly killing of journalists, will significantly hurt freedoms of press and expression, which are considered Afghanistan’s significant achievements since 2001. We call on all parties, particularly the ISIS and the Taliban to refrain from attacking journalists and media”, said Najib Sharifi, AJSC Director.

“We also call on the Afghan government and Afghanistan’s international partners not to compromise on the values of press freedom and freedom of expression in peace talks with the Taliban. Freedoms of press and expression play a fundamental role in promoting democracy, good governance, transparency and human rights, so they should be strictly safeguarded, adds Mr. Sharifi.”

AJSC continues to monitor the safety status of media and journalists and calls on all stakeholders to join forces towards protection of journalists and media workers. This is of paramount importance, as media will not be able to sustain such high level of loss. At the same time, AJSC reminds all parties that journalists are civilians and killing them constitutes war crimes.

AJSC also calls on Afghan government to take all necessary measures to end the lingering impunity of crimes against journalists, which is a major cause of perpetuation of violence against journalists.

With support from IMS, the AJSC is a countrywide, locally led 24/7 safety mechanism, the only one of its kind in Afghanistan, which has operated since 2009.

Download the full report here