The year 2016 is considered the bloodiest year for journalists and media in the history of Afghanistan. 13 journalists were killed, a figure that is unprecedented in the history of journalism in Afghanistan. In spite of the fact that the threats are posed by a variety of groups including government officials, a shift in the conduct of Taliban vis-à-vis journalists and media is the main driver of the increase in the level of threats and deadly violence against journalists.
However, 2016 has also witnessed a number of achievements in the area of safety of journalists. The most significant achievement is the preparation and passing of the procedure on security and safety of journalists by the government of Afghanistan that has been finalized as a result of consistent advocacy and efforts on the part of media support organizations in the country.
This procedure, if implemented well, can address a large part of the security and safety issues that journalists face in Afghanistan.
This is the 8th six-monthly report by Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) that reviews the safety condition of journalists in the second six months of 2016 across Afghanistan. The data and figures appearing in this report have been collected and consolidated on the basis of the procedures and policies of AJSC, defining matters concerning violence against journalists in specific terms. This means that AJSC has clear and distinct definition in documenting cases of violence against journalists such that incidents that are not related to journalism work, have not taken place while performing a journalistic task or has no relevance to journalism and reporting, are not recorded by AJSC as a case of violence against journalists.
Because violence has been a primary factor against freedom of operation for journalists, AJSC has also reviewed and analyzed in this report data, sources and types of violence in five years from 2012 through the end of 2016 so that a clearer picture of the nature and scope of the threats against journalists emerge as well as any trend of growth of violence against journalists come to light. In this framework, AJSC has divided the type of violence against journalists into four categories (killing, wounding, beating and intimidation/ threats). Likewise, the perpetrators of violence against journalists have been divided into four groups (government, unknown individuals, Taliban and local strongmen). In this report each type of violence against journalists as well as each perpetrator category have been separately reviewed during the four years.