Afghan Authorities Must Respect Journalists During Elections

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Afghan Independent

Journalists’ Association (AIJA) in condemning a police attack on a group of

journalists working in the western province

of Herat on July 29.

 

The journalists have been identified by the AIJA Herat office

as Ariana TV reporter Fawad Ahmadi, Reuters reporter Jalil Ahmad Rezai, Saba TV

reporter Sayed Abdullah, Tolo TV reporter Reza Shir Mohammad and Sharaf-u-din

Stanekzai from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty(RFERL).

 

The journalists were reportedly attacked by police as they

attempted to cover a public demonstration against the killing of a fruit seller

in Herat District 7 by a police officer on July 29.

 

Two journalists in the group told the AIJA the police

officers aggressively assaulted them and confiscated their equipment by force.

Sharaf-u-din-Stanekzai was also briefly detained, the AIJA said.

 

Uniformed police and personnel in plain clothes from the

Afghanistan National Security Directorate were reportedly involved in the

attack.

 

The IFJ joins the AIJA in strongly condemning the attack on

the reporters.

 

“We fully share the concerns expressed by our Afghan

affiliate on the increasingly hostile environment for fair reporting ahead of

the presidential and provincial councils’ election due next month,” said IFJ

General Secretary Aidan White.

 

Speaking at a press conference, the AIJA president

Rahimullah Samander said, “Police have the responsibility for the provision of safety

to journalists, who then can provide better information to public at this crucial

time. This assault on journalists is totally unacceptable and will not be

tolerated.”

 

Speaking at a national assembly of journalists’ leaders from

across the country in Kabul in late July, White

had said that journalists in Afghanistan

were coming under pressure as political contention escalated in the run-up to

the national elections.

 

“The political community and the government in particular

must demonstrate a commitment to democracy by setting model standards when it

comes to treatment of media,” White said.

 

The IFJ joins the AIJA in calling on Afghan security

officials and police to bring to account those responsible for the most recent

acts of violence and to set a conspicuous example of respecting media freedoms

in the months ahead.

 

For further information

contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612

9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide