Afghanistan FLAG
Afghanistan FLAG

Afghan journalists face violence and intimidation increasingly from all sides, including government forces, rights groups said Wednesday.

Afghanistan FLAG
Afghanistan FLAG

“These attacks put at risk the gains in media freedom in Afghanistan since 2001,” US-based Human Rights Watch said.

It said the government failed to investigate and prosecute allegations of harassment, intimidation, and attacks on journalists, which “emboldened parties determined to suppress criticism of the government, its security forces, and other powerful entities in Afghan society.”

Eight journalists, including two foreign reporters, were killed in Afghanistan in 2014, the highest since the US-led invasion in 2001, according to NAI, a Kabul-based media rights group.

One local journalist has been killed this year.

Aqil Mohammad Weqar, a radio reporter in Nangarhar province, was shot dead by armed men while attending a wedding party Friday.

District governor Mohammad Ghaleb said a group of gunmen stormed the party and shot Weqar.

No one claimed responsibility for the killing.

Qasem Rahmani, a legal advisor for NAI, said the government has never brought to justice those responsible for the violence against ournalists.

“The government has not fulfilled its responsibility. When a journalist is killed there is never any investigation. There is no fear of prosecution,” Rahmani told dpa.

“The biggest threat for Afghan journalists is security. The journalists can work only in secure areas. There are many places where Taliban have total control over the land,” Rahmani said.

He said violence against journalists increased by more than 60 per cent in 2014.

“Afghan journalists indicated that they often respond to the threats, intimidation, and violence with self-censorship,” Human Rights Watch said.

“Many steer clear of reporting on sensitive issues – including corruption, land grabbing, violence against women, and human rights abuses.”

It also said Taliban insurgents explicitly target journalists whose reporting it deems unfavorable.

The radical Islamist movement threatened journalists last month, saying they would be targeted for supporting “Western values.”

According to NAI, at least 32 local journalists have been killed since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban regime, while 23 were injured in various attacks and 23 others were kidnapped.


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