Despite financial hardship, safety remains a major challenge ahead of journalism in Afghanistan. Independent journalism in the country, though weary it might be, is the only powerful voice of hope and resistance.
The Afghan journalist community have paid a high price in the last 18 years. The International Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) ranked Afghanistan as the sixth dangerous country for journalists. According to CPJ, Afghanistan was the deadliest country for journalists last year.
Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC), in a statement issued on November 02, said out of 109 journalists, killed in the past 18 years, 15 were women and 17 others were foreign journalists. The statement said only six of 109 murder cases of the journalists have been investigated.
Journalists are victim of war and violence
Reports suggest that the warring parties—Islamic State, the Taliban, Afghan government forces, and NATO forces—have killed journalists. In addition to the warring parties, local armed groups also have a free hand when it comes to violence against journalists. From January 2019 until now, as many as four journalists have been reported dead.
Jamshid Rasooli, spokesman for Afghanistan attorney’s general office, said that the murder cases of Palvasha Tokhi, presenter with Radio Bayan, Hamed Noori, presenter with National TV, Shakiba Sanga Amaaj, presenter with Shamshad TV, Zubair Khaksar, reporter with National Radio and TV, Amanullah Atayee, the head of Asia National TV, and Abdulmanan Arghand, reporter for Kabul News TV have been investigated and fifty other cases are under investigation.
Afghanistan is a country where violence against journalists is widespread. Though the newly emerging Afghan media have enjoyed a relatively freehand in editorial writings, exposing minor corruption scandals and objecting the government for ill-practices, big complex corruption scandals and closed door Afghan politics have always remained an untouchable subject for the Afghan media.
Ahmad Qureshi, chief executive for AFCJ, call on the Afghan judiciary oraganizations to deliver justice. Even with efforts being made, justice has not been delivered and the perpetrators have escaped legal charges, he said.
Despite financial hardship, safety remains a major challenge ahead of journalism in Afghanistan.
Nai, Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, also presses the Afghan government and Afghan judicial organizations to punish the perpetrators of crimes against journalists. Culture of impunity is rife when it comes to violence against journalists, Nai says.
Safety is a major concern of Afghan journalists
Many Afghan journalists express deep concern about what they call personal safety. Over last years, almost all independent Afghan media have struggled with hard financial pressure. Despite financial hardship, safety remains a major challenge ahead of journalism in Afghanistan. Independent journalism in the country, though weary it might be, is the only powerful voice of hope and resistance. It is the only voice that bring up the stories of extra judicial killings, plunder of government resources by corrupt officials, indiscriminate civilian killings by warring parties.