The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
increasingly concerned about the dangers for journalists and media workers in
Afghanistan, after another journalist
was injured in a suicide bomb blast on April 29.
Eighteen people were
reported killed in the blast in Khogyani district,
Nangarhar province, close to the border with Pakistan, according to news reports.
Among the 50 people reported injured
is Paul Rafael, an Australian journalist working on assignment for the SmithsonianMagazine. Rafael was evacuated to a
US military hospital.
Photographer Steve Dupont, also of
Australia and working for the
The Taliban is reported to have
claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred as officials and villagers
met in an opium-growing area to prepare for a drug-eradication operation.
The district chief commander was
killed, while officials and police were injured, reports the Afghan
Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA), an IFJ associate.
The attack comes as the IFJ releases
its annual South Asia Press Freedom
Report for 2007-08, which details the rising risks for media
personnel in Afghanistan from May 2007 to April
Data gathered for the report by the
AIJA note that four media workers were killed in Afghanistan during the year. Three
killings were targeted attacks on local journalists. In the fourth case,
Norwegian reporter Carsten Thomassen was killed in a battle in Kabul on January 14.
The extent of the danger is further
underlined by 38 media personnel being injured, threatened or intimidated in
both targeted and indiscriminate attacks, while 20 media workers were detained,
charged or abducted by security forces or the Taliban, according to the report.
Among these cases is that of Sayed Parvez
Kambakhsh, 23, who was sentenced to death in
January on charges of blasphemy. He is accused of downloading an article from
the internet regarding women’s rights under Islam.
In addition, eight
incidents were reported in which media outlets were directly attacked or
publications were prevented from being distributed.
“The latest injury of a journalist
in Afghanistan underscores the extreme
dangers confronting local and foreign media personnel reporting on the country’s
conflict,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park.
“It is a stark reminder ahead of
World Press Freedom Day on May 3 of the dark realities confronting journalists
who work in dangerous and volatile locations.”
further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120