The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
strongly condemns a police assault on radio reporter Dawa Khan Meenapal at the
site of a bomb attack in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar,
in which at least 40 people were killed and 65 wounded on August 25.
the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA),
an IFJ affiliate, Meenapal was recording
witness accounts of the attack in his job as a reporter for Radio Free
Afghanistan when he was detained. His wrists were bound and his recording
equipment was confiscated by police.
told the AIJA that police assaulted him with rifle butts and pushed him around, ostensibly because he had not secured their
permission before interviewing witnesses. His equipment was returned upon his
believes that journalists who are confident of their personal safety should
have access to breaking news hotspots unless there are compelling reasons of
security that demand otherwise,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said..
“We see no
cause for the Afghan police to deal in this rough manner with a radio reporter
who was seeking to document the aftermath of the most serious terrorist strike
in several months.”
journalists are reported to have filed personal testimony with the AIJA about
threats issued by security personnel as they sought to cover the Kandahar bombing.
president Rahimullahh Samander has strongly protested the most recent effort to
restrain media coverage of a serious security incident,
and questioned the policy of the Afghan Government to limit information and
access to people affected by violence.
Government, in this period of
delicate political transition, to be
attentive to the need for free media access to locales and situations of public
importance,” Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in
120 countries worldwide