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Journalists Still Face Threats in Afghanistan

by Admin Insight

An organization supporting open media in Afghanistan recently called on the Afghan government to ensure the investigation of the murder of journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its annual global impunity index has put Afghanistan in the fifth row among 12 countries where journalists are singled out for murder and their killers go free.

The CPJ in a report states that despite a reduction in violence against journalists in countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and South Sudan, the cases of murders of journalists have not been investigated.

“CPJ’s annual Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are singled out for murder and their killers go free, showed little change from a year earlier. Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan occupy the worst four spots on the list, in that order, as war and political instability perpetuate the cycle of violence and lawlessness,” the report said.

The Attorney General’s Office said that it has investigated 19 cases of violence and murder of journalists in Afghanistan over the past two years.

“The Attorney General’s Office has arrested tens of suspects in connection to such incidents. Some of them have been sentenced to 30 years jail and even the death penalty,” said Jamshid Rasouli, a spokesman for the AGO.

“There are murder cases that have not been investigated in the right way. Also, the outcome of the investigations has not been shared with us,” said Najib Sharifi, the head of the Journalists’ Safety Committee.

Meanwhile, Finland Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto has said that he was concerned about reports of limitations on freedom of speech in Afghanistan.

“During this trip, we had excellent meetings with the civil society—and civil society activists of Afghanistan and several of them including some young women mentioned that they feel sometimes threat and they feel pressure and they don’t feel that they can openly express themselves or even sometimes criticizing the government. They might feel that there is some risk,” said Haavisto.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world.

NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, recently called on the Afghan government to ensure the investigation of the murder of journalists.

“Violence against journalists worsens the situation. We witness that freedom of the press in Afghanistan today is more at risk compared to the past two decades,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the head of NAI.

Officials said the government remains committed to protecting journalists and freedom of speech.

“The government is committed to pressing freedom and access to information. Protection of journalists is a top priority for the Afghan government,” said Latif Mahmoud, the head of the Government Media and Information Center.

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