Situation report on violence against media workers in Afghanistan

The year 2017 is considered the deadliest year for journalists and media in the history of Afghanistan, states Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in its yearly report. The report depicts the status of violence and intimidation against journalists and media workers in 2017. It also underlines other prominent issues and happenings in the realm of media and freedom of expression in this year.

AJSC recorded a total of 169 incidences of violence and intimidation, which includes killing, injury, beating, detention, threats and verbal assault of journalists and media workers.  20 journalists were killed, all by the Taliban and the Afghanistan branch of ISIS.

The data shows a 67% increase of incidences compared to the year 2016. The incidences of killing of journalists also increased by 54%, as 13 journalists were killed in 2016. 7% of the incidences of violence and intimidation were inflicted on women journalists and media workers.

“The remarkable rise in the level of violence against journalists and media workers in Afghanistan is a matter of great concern for us and for the media community at large. Continuation of such vast scale of violence, particularly the incidences of killings, will significantly hurt freedom of press and expression, which are considered the 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’s Director.

AJSC attributes the rise in the level of violence against journalists in the perpetuation of impunity vis-à-vis assaulting journalists, growing level of attack against media by terrorist groups and the general escalation of insecurity and instability in the country. Terrorist groups’ violence against journalists has risen by 28% compared to 2016.

AJSC continues to monitor the safety status of media and journalists and calls on all relevant organizations such as security entities, media outlets and media support organizations to join forces towards protection of journalists and media workers, as media community will not be able to sustain such level of loss. At the same time, AJSC reminds all parties that journalists are civilians and attacking them could amount to war crimes. AJSC also calls on Afghan government to take all necessary measures to end the lingering impunity of crimes 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.