IFJ Alarmed by the Arrest of Two Journalists in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands an explanation

from the Afghanistan Government for the arrest of two television journalists this



According to the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA), an

IFJ affiliate, the chief editor of private TV channel Emroze, Fahim Kohdamani, was arrested on March 23 following allegations

that the content of an Emroze broadcast expressed anti-Islamic sentiments offensive

to some Shiite clerics.


Najibullah Kabuli, a member of the Parliament’s lower house and owner of

Emroze, told the AIJA that Kohdamani was arrested

on the orders of Attorney-General Mohammad Eshaq Aloko.


Kabuli said the arrest may have been motivated by the extreme

pressure exerted by powerful clerics on Afghanistan’s

President, Hamid Karzai, and government leaders to prevent media reporting on relations

between Iran and Afghanistan.


Karzai and Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar had also

told him not to publish this type of material, Kabuli told the AIJA.


Kohdamani continues to be held by police.


Ariana TV reporter Ajmal Alamzai was also arrested on March

23 by security officials while on the way to Bakhater

University in Kabul, where he is also a student.


Ariana TV director Ehsanullah Arianzai told the AIJA that Alamzai

was picked up by officials. No explanation was offered to him or his brother,

who was accompanying him.


Alamzai was released late in the evening after interrogation

by the National Directorate of Security.


Alamzai presents news bulletins for Ariana TV and a talk

show program where he interviews politicians and experts about various social

and political matters in Afghanistan.


The arrest of the two journalists comes one week after the

murder of two journalists. Jawed Ahmad was killed by unidentified gunmen in Kandahar and Munir Ahmad Amil was shot dead by a police

officer in Kabul.


The AIJA and the IFJ are extremely concerned for the

security and well-being of media personnel in Afghanistan and call on the Government

to release Kohdamani immediately.


“As Afghanistan

prepares for upcoming elections, the Government must encourage all people

including members of its ministries and religious leaders to direct any complaints

about the media to the Media Violations Commission of the Ministry of

Communication,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park said.  


“The people of Afghanistan need to know what is

happening in their country, particularly in the lead-up to elections. President

Karzai and the Afghanistan

authorities must ensure that journalists are able and allowed to fulfil their

duty to inform the public without fear or threat of arbitrary arrest or



The IFJ joins the AIJA in urging Afghanistan’s Government to make a

public commitment to implement the existing Media Violations Commission as a

transparent mechanism for managing public complaints regarding media content.



organisations also called on the Government to conduct

full and transparent investigations into the murders of Jawed Ahmad Yazemi and

Munir Ahmad Amil.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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