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Editorial: Another voice made silent

Media persons from all over war-stricken Afghanistan mourned once again when their colleague, a local radio anchor, was killed by unknown armed men in Gardez, the capital city of southern Paktia province. The sudden and brutal death of Nader Shah Sahibzada brings to over 20 the number of Afghan journalists which have been killed over the past two years in Afghanistan. Nader Shah Sahibzada was running social and cultural programs for a local radio channel called Sada-e-Gardiz Radio Station for the past three years. He was found dead on Friday evening. Provincial Police Spokesman Sardar Wali Tabassum said provincial police have launched probe into the incident, but so far no one has been arrested in connection with the murder. No individual or group has claimed responsibility so far. NAI, a free media advocacy group, in a statement said that Sahibazada disappeared on Friday evening and his dead body was found on Saturday. Head of the radio station, Abdul Rashid Jalazai, said the dead body was discovered by the security forces on the outskirts of the capital city. Sahibzad had worked for three years as a presenter of social and literary programs in the radio. According to NIA, it is the seventh journalist that has been murdered in Afghanistan this year so far. Assassination of Sahibzada occurs at a time while the peace efforts have entered into a crucial stage. Couple of days back, Afghan elders from all sides agreed on curtailing violence and terror but one of the major party is yet to comply with the commitments made in the declaration adopted at the end of two-day, intra Afghan conference. Since 9/11 tragedy, Afghanistan is not only facing the worst kind of terror but the country has also been described as one of the most dangerous country for journalists despite a relatively good state of freedom of speech. In May this year, a well-known journalist and advisor for the parliament, Meena Mangal, was shot dead by unidentified armed men in Kabul city. Just recently, the Taliban group has warned journalists and media staffers of dire consequences if they did not stop airing anti-Taliban ads, as according to the group, they are aimed at defaming them. This is not only the case in Afghanistan but similar situation exists in other regional and neighboring countries for the media personnel. In fact, the media is considered ‘major hurdle” before terrorists, extremists and their mentors as well. Terrorism and extremism are being promoted for specific purposes in the region, which are contrary to the very interests of Afghanistan and its people. And the media people like other patriotic countrymen are also engaged in standing against them; therefore, people associated with media organs are targeted by terrorists and their sponsors. Global organizations, claiming to be champions of human rights and press freedom, have also failed in fulfilling its responsibilities regarding safeguarding lives of media personnel from violence in Afghanistan and other oppressed countries. Responsibility rests with the UN to take steps for the safety of media personnel as well ensure freedom to press throughout Asia.   

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