On the second anniversary of democratic elections in Afghanistan, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on the government to take immediate action to put an end to the violence and targeted attacks against journalists, and censorship of the media which have marred the last two years of democracy.
Afghanistan remains an extremely dangerous country for journalists to work. Four journalists have been killed since democracy was achieved, and violence against journalists is a common method used to silence independent voices. Legal restrictions on the media and censorship also continue to hamper the growth of democracy in Afghanistan.
“Today, on the two-year anniversary of democracy, the IFJ demands a greater commitment from the Afghanistan government to freedom of expression, and we call on the government to urgently act to protect the safety and rights of journalists,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.
“The IFJ commends the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists (CPAJ) and their colleagues for their continued determination in the struggle for a free and independent media in Afghanistan,” Warren said.
To mark this important milestone, the AIJA and the CPAJ will be hosting large protests in Kabul and four provinces, which will be attended by local journalists. The Minister for Information will also be invited to attend the meeting. The AIJA and CPAJ will read out the letters of protest, sent from the IFJ and IFJ affiliates worldwide, at the meeting and hand them to the office of the President.
Just days before the anniversary, two German journalists were tragically killed in the Baghlan province of Afghanistan on October 6. The AIJA and CPAJ are investigating this atrocious incident.
The IFJ is also deeply concerned about the case of radio journalist Abdul Qudus who has been in prison for the last eight months, despite information available to the AIJA and the CPAJ that he was wrongly accused. Additionally, the government has refused to grant permission to the AIJA and CPAJ to meet with Abdul Qudus and assist him with his case.
“While the IFJ understands that the task to restore order and peace in Afghanistan is substantial, a threatened and controlled press will never deliver a free and democratic society,” Warren said.
The IFJ gives its full and unconditional support to the AIJA and CPAJ and our Afghan colleagues in their protest on October 9, and for their struggle for journalists’ rights, safety and a free and independent media.
To contribute to the campaign for a safe and independent media in Afghanistan please visit the IFJ Asia Pacific website (www.ifj-asia.org) to download a draft letter to send.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries