KABUL: Afghanistan celebrates the March 17th as the National Journalists’ Day amid intensive security threats from the media family as the country has recently experienced a high level of violence, including targeted-killings of high profile figures such as journalists, civil society activists, judges, scholars, doctors, and employees.
Journalists and media workers with reporting news and revealing the secret deals on the scene to the public, are praised and respected worldwide but unfortunately in Afghanistan they are being targeted in a variety of ways.
The Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in a statement voiced its concerns on the journalists’ safety and situation of the freedom of speech, saying that nine journalists have been killed since November 2020.
Congratulating the National Journalists’ Day to the country’s media staff, the AJSC said the celebration of the day comes as the journalists, media workers, and the media outlets face unprecedented and serious security and financial challenges in the ongoing year, especially concerns about the future of freedom of expression in Afghanistan. The latest figures collected by AJSC on the presence of women in the country’s media show that 301 women have either quitted or lost their jobs over the past six months due to different factors, such as security threats and financial challenges. The tally covers 18 percent of the country’s female journalists.
The negative impact of targeted attacks on journalists coupled with the adverse economic effects driving from the COVID-19 outbreak limited media outlets’ capability to properly produce news and contents.
The AJSC urged the government and international organizations to meet the challenges that the media facing in Afghanistan. The AJSC called on the government to seriously investigate the journalists’ murdering and put an end to the impunity of crimes against the media family. In this process, information must be effectively shared with the public and the media community.
As the Afghan peace process accelerates, the media community is deeply concerned about the possible violation of freedom of expression and the media’s situation in the country. The Afghan media family is expecting the government to preserve and protect the freedom of press in the ongoing peace negotiations.
AJSC calls on all international institutions and the government to uphold the principle of freedom of expression, which is considered an important achievement of the last two decades in Afghanistan during the peace process, in accordance with international and national law.
It is noteworthy that the AJSC has scaled up its efforts over the past months to ensure the safety of journalists and media workers. The murder-cases of the journalists and media workers have been seriously pursued, but the process of sharing information about these cases by the security agencies has not been satisfactory.
The Afghan journalists and media workers in addition to being targeted suffer from non-fatal attacks such as intimidation, harassment insulting and beating by different organization’s forces and figures in the country.