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Threat to journalists at highest level in 2018

KABUL: Violence against journalists has seen an epic rise in Afghanistan, according to a report, which found that 196 cases of violence in 2018 depicting a rise of 18 percent compared to the preceding year.

Free media supporting group NAI on Thursday in its annual report for 2018 mentioned murder, torture, threats, insult, kidnapping and lack of access to information among incidents that took place against journalists.

NAI head Mujib Khalwatgar said more than 166 incidents of violence against journalists were reported in 2017 and 196 incidents in 2018, showing an 18 percent increase.

This year, he said, 20 journalists were killed, 20 others injured, 34 tortured, 52 threatened, 9 arrested for short time, 11 attacks happened on media outlets and 50 incidents of denial of access to information happened.

He asked the National Unity Government to speed up investigations into incidents of violence against journalists which might help decline violence against the community.

He said, “We want the international community and donor countries to put pressure on the Afghan government to ensure implementation of access to information law.”

Advisor to the Ministry of Information and Cultural Affairs, Syed Jafar Rastin, said security institutions were often asked to ensure safety of journalists and media persons. He said most of violent incidents resulted from journalists’ unfair behavior with police.

One of the speakers was the Defense Ministry spokesman Javid Ghafoor who said journalists performed the duty of moral security of the masses like soldiers looked after physical security of the people. He asked security organs not to send journalists to frontlines without necessary security equipment.

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