International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is greatly concerned at the
decline in press freedom in Afghanistan
over the past year, noting that there have been 115 incidents of violence
against media personnel, including the killings of five journalists.
IFJ’s concerns were raised as the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association
(AIJA), an IFJ affiliate, marked World Press Freedom Day yesterday by calling
international attention to the dangers and restrictions challenging free media
including the continuing imprisonment of journalists Ahmad Ghows Zelmay and
Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh.
said its research over the past year indicates growing violence against media
personnel in the year leading up to presidential elections in August 2009, with
attacks perpetrated by a range of parties including government officials,
religious hardliners and armed non-state actors.
media rights monitoring unit recorded 115 cases of violence against media
workers and journalists. Five journalists were killed or murdered: Abdul Samad
Rohani, Jawed Ahmad Yazemi, Munir Ahmad Amil, Abid Akmal and Mohammad Sabir.
addition, 25 journalists or media workers were arrested; 24 were assaulted or
humiliated by officials; eight were abducted; and 22 received death threats or
were intimidated by armed and non-armed factions. Ten other media workers left
the country fearing for their safety, while 12 others changed their duty
station for the same reason. It is notable that two women journalists in Herat Province
left their jobs for safety reasons while two others left the country.
four media offices were shut down at various times over the year due to
pressures from different factions, AIJA said. The Paiman daily in Kabul was closed due to
pressures by religious scholars. Spin Ghar Radio in Eastern Nangarhar
Province was closed
because of efforts by a district chief to bring it under his control. Quyash
Radio in Faryab Province had the same problem of
official interference. Aghahi monthly in Takhar Province
also shut down because of pressure from religious hardliners and governors.
media offices came under direct attack: Herat
State television, Pashtun Ghagh and
the AIJA office in Paktika Province, and a station in Logar Province
three occasions, bans were imposed by authorities in Pakistan
and Iran on Afghan
television channels broadcasting to Afghan immigrants in Pakistan and Iran, thus denying them access to
information in their own languages.
figures highlight that the country is still a dangerous place for the working
journalists, and the Government does less or nothing to ensure press freedom
and freedom of expression, which are guaranteed by the Afghan Constitution and
the Media Law,” AIJA said in a statement.
President Hamid Karzai assured AIJA last year that he would review the cases of
Zalmay and Kambaksh, and provide support to seek their release, both
journalists remain in jail.
The IFJ has revised the above
press statement to correct an error in which Akmal Dawi was wrongly identified
among the journalists who had been killed in Afghanistan over the preceding
year. The original statement inadvertently confused Akmal Dawi
with Abid Akmal, a freelance journalist and media relations manager with a
public agency in Afghanistan,
who was found dead in early September 2008. The IFJ regrets any
distress the error has caused Akmal Dawi and his family and friends.
further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries