IFJ expresses concern for Afghanistan’s media after spate of threats and attacks

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Afghanistan Independent Journalist Association (AIJA) in expressing concern over a series of recent threats and intimidations issued at journalists and called on the Afghanistan government to do more to ensure media workers are safe to conduct their duties.

On August 2, the head of police in Nangrahar province of Eastern Afghanistan threatened a TV reporter for asking him critical questions. The official also deleted recordings of the interview from the camera of a reporter from Ariana TV.

In a separate incident, on July 27, police officials in the North Eastern province of Takhar intimidated a journalist while he was reporting on assignment and in the same week another reporter, Ali Mohammad Nazari, from the South Eastern province of Paktika, working for Pajhwok News Agency, was also forced to leave his job after receiving repeated threats from the Taliban.

Yesterday, the IFJ issued a release on another August 2 attack, where two  unidentified men fired shots from a pistol at Azizullah Hamdard, a reporter with Pajhwok News agency. The men fled the scene leaving the journalist with injuries to his left arm.

AIJA General Secretary Samandar Khan said: “We are concerned about the security situation of journalists after recent incidents as many other journalists are facing intimidation for their journalistic works."

The IFJ said: “Afghanistan is a deadly place for journalists, and the security situation has been a major concern for journalists. Journalists in Afghanistan are facing threats for carrying out their responsibilities and the government should ensure safety for journalists.”

Six journalists have already lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2014 and there has been numerous attacks and intimidation of journalists this year. Journalists have been facing intimidation from both state and non-state actors making the situation particularly difficult.

The IFJ added: “The IFJ has expressed its serious concerns surrounding journalist safety in Afghanistan with a rise in brutal attacks and killings against journaliststypo3/#_msocom_2. As the international community prepares to leave Afghanistan and foreign aid dwindles, the need for support for media in Afghanistan has become increasingly paramount.

The IFJ and the AIJA urge the Afghanistan government to immediately arrest and prosecute those involved in these attacks and act to improve the security situation for journalists.