IFJ Calls for Safety Review after Media Tragedy in Afghanistan

The

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the rescue of a

British journalist in Afghanistan

but called for a safety review after his Afghan interpreter was killed in the

military operation.

According

to reports from Afghanistan,

Nato troops raided the place where Taliban militants were holding Stephen

Farrell and Sultan Munadi in the Char Dara district at dawn on 9 September.

Farrell was rescued but Sultan, 34, died in the fire fight between Nato

soldiers and the militants. One Nato soldier and two civilians were also

killed.

"The

good news of Stephen's successful rescue has been overshadowed by Sultan's

tragic killing," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "It reminds us of the

sacrifice that we all have to pay for media freedom."

Stephen,

the New York Times reporter, was kidnapped with Sultan last week as he was

investigating the Nato air attack on two fuel tankers which had been hijacked

by Taliban militants. Media reports say the air strike killed many people,

including civilians.

The

IFJ says that journalists in Afghanistan

should not be prevented from reporting independently, provided that they are

confident about their personal safety and that of their local colleagues.

"The

killing of Sultan brings into sharp focus the issue of safety of local

personnel who are employed by foreign media organisations in Afghanistan,"

added White. "We must ensure that, like all reporters, they are properly

trained to work in dangerous conditions."

The

IFJ further calls on Nato leadership in Afghanistan to investigate the

circumstances which led to Sultan's killing and engage with Afghan Association

of Journalists on their safety needs.

"There

is no faulting the intentions behind the rescue operation," said White. "But if

lessons can be learned for the future, an investigation and review of what

happened here will be helpful."

For more information

contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists

in 123 countries worldwide