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Violence against journalists up by 436pc, breaking all records

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: Following scores of deadly incidents that took lives of 14 journalists in the country, Nai-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, a watchdog, said that 2016 was a bloodiest year for journalists in Afghanistan

“Nai has recorded 415 cases of violence against journalists. Fourteen journalists were killed and 23 wounded in 2016,” said Head of Nai-Supporting Open Media, Mujib Khelwatgar.

Terming 2016 another “bloodiest year” for Afghan journalists, he said that Nai has documented three arrest cases, 338 death threats and 43 torture cases against journalists and employees of media outlets in the country.

Violence against journalists and media outlets increased to 436 percent as compared to previous year, he added. Taliban are involved in 326 cases of violence against journalists; government in 64 cases; and yet to be indentified people in 26 cases of violence against journalist this years.

He said that insecurity and attacks of the militants, especially in four provinces including Helmand, Kunduz, Uruzgan and Zabul, were the main factors behind mounting of violence against journalists.

Although, the government issued directives to support media and freedom of speech, but unfortunately inverse to the pledges, violence reached at the highest level against journalists and media outlets across the country, he said.

Pointing to the 401 serious cases of violence against journalists in the past, he said the Ministry of Interior is mulling to finalize the dossiers.

Khelwatgar said that once the Ministry of Interior completed the process, the dossiers would be sent to Second Vice President’s office for further process.

Journalists who came to attend the event have also expressed deep concerns over insecurity, injustice, weak rule of law, lack of good governance, impunity culture, and presence of warlords and mafia groups. They believed that if the government does not prosecute the cases of violence against journalists and provide safety to media-persons, situation would be worst next year.

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