The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan’s National Unity Government’s statement of intention to bring an end to impunity for crimes against journalists and media workers in the country.In a statement issued on November 23 as part of a national campaign to end impunity, CEO Abdullah Abdullah renewed a commitment for supporting freedom of expression and media activities, saying that the country’s National Unity Government remains committed to protect press freedom.The campaign was coordinated by the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) to call on the Afghan Government to fulfill its promises in taking actions to end impunity for crimes against journalists.Abdullah met senior members of media support organizations and assured them of his government’s commitment to take essential actions to end the issue of impunity. CEO Abdullah said in the statement: “By investigating and dealing with these dossiers and prosecuting the perpetrators, we intend to end impunity, so that those who committed crimes against journalists and media workers get prosecuted and journalists feel safe and avoid self-censorship.”Seven media workers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2014. According to AFJC, 46 journalists, writers or media workers have lost their lives over the last two decades in Afghanistan. Out of the number, 29 were directly targeted, 17 caught in explosions or armed conflicts and 19 of them were Afghani nationals.However, the perpetrators of most of these cases have not been prosecuted. Statistics gathered by AFJC indicate that 93 per cent of perpetrators of these murder cases have not been prosecuted. During the IFJ ‘End Impunity’ campaign in November, the IFJ affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) undertook a number of activities to raise awareness about journalist impunity. In early November AIJA held a media rights monitoring and advocacy workshops and a gender safety workshop with female and male journalists from across the country participating. They also took part in the IFJ #whatareyoudoing? photo campaign, calling Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to account over the issue of journalist impunity in Afghanistan. AIJA also took part in the regional campaign, signing the open letter from the IFJ and South Asia Media Solidarity Network to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif calling for action on Pakistan’s horrific impunity issue.
Jane Worthington, the IFJ Asia-Pacific acting director, said: “The IFJ welcomes the Afghan government’s expression of commitment to end the impunity on crimes against journalists and hopes that these words will be turned into concrete actions.”
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