Police Assault Journalist Covering Kandahar Blast

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

strongly condemns a police assault on radio reporter Dawa Khan Meenapal at the

site of a bomb attack in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar,

in which at least 40 people were killed and 65 wounded on August 25.


According to

the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA),

an IFJ affiliate, Meenapal was recording

witness accounts of the attack in his job as a reporter for Radio Free

Afghanistan when he was detained. His wrists were bound and his recording

equipment was confiscated by police.



told the AIJA that police assaulted him with rifle butts and pushed him around, ostensibly because he had not secured their

permission before interviewing witnesses. His equipment was returned upon his



“The IFJ

believes that journalists who are confident of their personal safety should

have access to breaking news hotspots unless there are compelling reasons of

security that demand otherwise,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said..


“We see no

cause for the Afghan police to deal in this rough manner with a radio reporter

who was seeking to document the aftermath of the most serious terrorist strike

in Afghanistan

in several months.”



journalists are reported to have filed personal testimony with the AIJA about

threats issued by security personnel as they sought to cover the Kandahar bombing.



president Rahimullahh Samander has strongly protested the most recent effort to

restrain media coverage of a serious security incident,

and questioned the policy of the Afghan Government to limit information and

access to people affected by violence.


“We call

upon Afghanistan’s

Government, in this period of

delicate political transition, to be

attentive to the need for free media access to locales and situations of public

importance,” Park said.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919



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