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105 cases of violence against journalists recorded

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, a local watchdog, has recorded 105 cases of violence against journalists in the country since May 2014.

Addressing a conference in connection with the World Press Freedom Day, the chief executive of Nai, Sediqullah Tawhidi, said that totally 105 violence cases including four murders were registered since May 2014.

He said the new report released by his organization show drastic increase as compared to the previous year. According to the data obtained from Nai, 78 cases of violence has been recorded against journalists from May 2013 to May 2014.

He expressed concern over increase in violence against journalists, and said that reporting has become a terrible job for Afghan journalists.

At the same time, Nai released finding of a survey conducted in five major provinces including the capital city. The survey revealed that 74.8 percent of journalists believe that violence increased against media-persons and 77.7 percent were of the view that violence decreased in the past 12 months.

At least 29 percent of reporters complained of physical violence, 47.5 percent complained of mental violence and 18.5 percent were concerned about violation of their rights throughout the country.

The respondents believed that 47.8 percent of violence cases have been committed by state actors, 12.8 percent by their respective media organizations,18.8 percent by the Taliban and 20.8 percent by others.

According to Tawhidi still 50 percent of violence cases are not reported to the related organizations due to poor and complicated procedures.

Regarding the recently approved law on access to information, he said the law has been approved but not implemented. The government should fulfill its commitments and enfore the law on priority basis, he urged.

Commending performance of the journalists despite presence of severe and numerious challenges, Chief of the Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union, Abdul Hamid Mubarez, asked Ministry of Information and Culture to ensure safety of journalists and provide health insurance to them.

Representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Elias Alami, said the World Press Freedom Day is celebrated aimed emergence of reports about increase in cases of violence against newsmen in the country.

He expressed concerns over existance of impunity culture, and said that impunity culture is major factor responsible for increase in violence cases. Alami urged the goverrnment to bring all those to the court of justice who are involved in the violence cases.

Spokesman for the interior ministry Sediq Sediqi said that law enforcement agencies, particularly police force, are committed to cooperate with journalists and never tried to force reporters to censor information.

He promised to study the survey and plug the loopholes if there were any.

Meanwhile, scores of Afghan journalist termed insecurity, poor implementation of law and presence of powerful groups as key problems that hamper their routine professional activities and asked the relevant authorities to take serious measures to resolve the problems.

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