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Afghanistan sees steep spike in violence against journalists

Human Rights Commission has urged the government to grant journalists with legal and occupational immunity to protect them against warlords and those who put a hurt on them

AT News

KABUL: Afghanistan marked its National Journalists Day on Tuesday with strong exhortations coming from media watchdogs and activists for safeguarding journalists and media freedom in the war-wracked country.

Human Rights Commission has called for legal and occupational immunity for journalists and independent and free media and be protected against aggression. In a tweet on Tuesday, HRC said Afghan journalists are at the receiving end of violence coming from militants, government officials and warlords.

AJSC cited growing insecurity and instability as having further complicated the safety landscape alongside, a persistent culture of impunity, and a failure to enforce laws and implement procedures and statutes on the safety of journalists.             

HRC cited growing insecurity and political, corruption and political inertia as having further complicated the safety landscape for journalists in Afghanistan. “Right to access to information is a fundamental right of everybody and journalists are the human rights activists,” said the tweet.

This is as the Afghanistan Journalist Centre has made a shocking revelation about violence against press. Its chief, Ahmad Qureshi, said Tuesday that there was a 21% spike in violence this year. Although casualties of journalists saw a decline, Qureshi told a ceremony on the occasion of journalists national day in Kabul said that 5 journalists and media staff have been killed in terrorist attacks and criminal offences. 22 others have been injured.

“More than 28 intimidations, 32 insults, 11 kidnappings, 8 detentions, 6 beatings, and 4 terrorist attacks against journalists and media have been recorded this year,” he said.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists and the media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.  2018 was by far one of the deadliest and most violent years for Afghan press. At least 14 journalists and other media workers were killed, including nine in a single attack in Kabul on 30 April.

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