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ED: Bloodiest year for us (media family)

We, the Afghan media outlets have suffered a lot in 2017 year by losing 20 members of our family, making it worse for us, a jump from 13 deaths in 2016. Terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Daesh terrorists are responsible for all cases of the killings of journalists. Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in its report said that 2017 was deadliest year for journalists and media in the history of Afghanistan. A total of 169 incidences of violence and intimidation, which includes killing, injury, beating, detention, threats and verbal assault of journalists and media workers have been reported. The data shows a 67 percent of incidences compared to the year 2016. The incidents of killing of journalists also increased by 54 percent as 13 journalists were killed in 2016. Seven percent of the incidences of violence and intimidation were inflicted on women journalists and media workers. Surely we are concerns about our safety. No journalists ever want to be another victim. We want the government to ensure our safety. Continuation of such vast scale of violence, particularly the incidences of killings, will significantly hurt freedom of press and expression. Our government knows better that freedom of expression, freedom of press, and media pluralism are among our country’s most important achievements in the past 16-year. Threat to media is considered a threat to the country’s overall progress. But such violence against journalists would never create concern about survival of freedoms of expression and press. The Afghan media outlets would not dither or such violence could not slow down our performances. Meanwhile, we pinned high hope over the government leadership to do it best in safeguarding media outlets. Although, the government’s leaderships has made many commitments to protect journalists and collaborate with the media—issuing numerous decrees for protecting journalists—these official measures have failed to deliver the desired results in reducing violence against journalists. To the militant outfits, (Taliban and Daesh extremist groups), must say that it would be a great shame of history that you (militants) kill journalists while they are simply discharging their duties impartially. You (militants) can’t create atmosphere of fear by such coward attacks against us. Rather your (militants) every attack will give us more energy to stand against the evil forces and unmask the real face of the Taliban and the Daesh terrorist groups. The violence against the profession will be continued because brutality of militant outfits is like daylight, as even don’t spare women and children, leaving others. However, this all rough treatment will not stop us (media outlets) as journalism makes differences. Journalism is a pillar of democracy and furthermore, it is assists in social accountability and stimulates public debate. Educating government over public problems and reverse brings government achievements to the public. We are bridge between them. Journalism provides space for dissenting opinions and is a medicine against censorship. This is a fact that without safety to journalists, the public would be deprived of reliable information. Highly optimism is here that the government will adopt effective mechanism for safeguarding the journalist’s rights and protecting its years of achievements.

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