Police Attack Media Personnel in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

welcomes efforts by its affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists’

Association (AIJA), to engage in constructive dialogue with Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry

after a series of attacks by police on journalists this week.

 

Wahkt News Agency (WNA)

cameraman and photographer Mohammad Naeem was brutally assaulted by police from

Kabul’s district

four on October 5 while he was documenting the murder of a businessman and two

security personnel by unidentified gunmen wearing military uniforms, AIJA

sources said.

 

The police reportedly

confiscated Naeem’s camera and deleted all images related to the incident

before beating him and holding him in detention for almost an hour. Naeem was

released and the camera returned to him after AIJA and WNA representatives complained

to Interior Ministry spokesman Zalmay Bashary.

 

Earlier, Tamadon TV journalist

and cameraman Mahmood Fayez was also reportedly assaulted by police from Kabul’s district two on

October 3 as he was filming for a Tamadon TV program.

 

In a press conference on

October 5, AIJA President Samander Rahimullah called on Interior Minister Mohammad

Hanif Atmar to honour the Government’s pledge to ensure better cooperation on

the rights of journalists and media workers. The pledge was made in an official

letter to the AIJA in which the Government condemned police assaults on journalists.

 

“We call on the Interior

Ministry to bring those responsible for the most recent attacks into account,”

Samander said.

 

In unrelated incidents,

two journalists from the Aman FM (Peace FM) station situated near the military

base of the United States Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kamdesh

district in eastern Nuristan province reportedly

have been held captive by insurgents since October 3. The abduction occurred

after an attack by insurgents on the district centre. Eight American soldiers were

reported killed in the attack.

 

Kamdesh officials reportedly

deny knowledge of the identity of the two journalists.

 

Peace FM has been operating

for six months and is fully funded by the Nuristan-based PRT, broadcasting

programs in local languages from the district.

 

AIJA local offices in

Kunar and Nuristan are working to ensure the

unconditional release of both journalists, AIJA said.

 

The IFJ joins AIJA in calling on the

Afghan authorities to ensure all local and national police are made aware of

and adhere to the Government’s stated commitment to promote freedom of

expression and information.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in

120 countries worldwide