IFJ Fears for Safety of Journalists Working in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned by reports from the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists (CPAJ) of recent violence against journalists and assaults on press freedom in Afghanistan.

The IFJ has fears for the safety of journalists in Afghanistan after three television journalists were beaten while covering a political demonstration on July 29, only a week after a cameramen was killed in a double suicide bombing in on July 22.

“These latest attacks are further indications that the safety situation for journalists in Afghanistan is rapidly deteriorating,” IFJ President Christopher Warren said.

Senior reporter with Tolo TV, Noorullah Rahmani, cameraman, Qais Ahamd, and their driver were reportedly beaten by armed “semi uniformed” men and had their camera and footage stolen while covering a demonstration against Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, a fundamentalist factional leader, in the Paghman district of Kabul.

According to the AIJA and CPAJ, another journalist has been wrongfully imprisoned for the last seven months, and publications, including the newly funded sports publication Nedaye-Warzesh, continue to face censorship.

“These appalling reports of press freedom violations, and physical attacks on journalists for merely doing their job, are further indications of the dire conditions the Afghan media face. The IFJ demands a full, independent investigation into these attacks,” Warren said.

The IFJ has also expressed concern at news of the killing of television cameraman Abdul Qodus in a double suicide bombing in Kandahar on July 22.

According to local reports, Qodus, from Kabul based private television network Aryana, had arrived at the scene to cover the aftermath of a suicide car bomb, when a second attacker with explosives strapped to their body blew themselves up. Qodus reportedly died of head injuries at a local hospital.

“Journalists are particularly at risk of double attacks as they rush to report the initial suicide bombing and are caught in the destruction of the second attack,” Warren said.

“The conflict in Afghanistan has produced an environment which is unsafe for journalists. The IFJ calls for greater protection for journalists and stronger support for freedom of expression in the country,” Warren said.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 120 countries