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Afghan journalists under high security threats: Watchdog

AT News Report-KABUL: The security situation of the journalists and other media workers is worsening in Afghanistan, a media supportive watchdog said Sunday. The open media supporter organization (NAI) warned that if the situation continues, Kabul city would also be unsafe for the journalists.

Mojib Khalvatgar, deputy head of the organization, accused the government of detaining 16 journalists in the past Persian year, claiming that government tried to infiltrate the media outlets through employing journalists in government posts.

“The situation of reporters is getting worse day after day and they would not be safe even near the presidential office,” he said, adding that if journalists do not feel safe in the capital, they would be more unsafe in the provinces.

He claimed that over 50 journalists were already employed in government positions, calling this a tragedy for the freedom of speech. “Those reporters who are now in government, are severely against the freedom of speech.”

Last week, a photojournalist of the Associated Press escaped unhurt an attempt by unknown armed men in Kabul and a journalist of the Ariana TV and another journalist of Radio Shiba were beaten by unknown men in the capital.

The media watchdogs say that they had registered 166 cases of violence against journalists in 2017 from which 19 were murders. They say that violence against journalists in 2017 had a 50 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

Bu the government rejects claims over its efforts in silencing freedom of speech. “We are trying our best to protect journalists and want no journalist be teased. We are also determined to punish those people who disrespect journalists,” said Omid Maisam, spokesman of the chief executive.

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