Reuters, June 6, 2007

Gunmen kill another Afghan woman journalist

More than five years since the Taliban were removed, many women, especially in the countryside, have no access to education, let alone employment...

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL - Unidentified gunmen shot dead an Afghan woman journalist, the second such killing in less than a week, officials said on Wednesday.

Zakia Zaki, who also served as headmistress of a school, ran a private radio station partially funded by a Western media group.

The 35-year-old married woman was killed at her house in Parwan province, north of the capital Kabul late on Tuesday.

Zaki was threatened recently by some factional commanders in her area to shut down the station or face death, the head of Afghanistan's Independent Journalist Association said.

"She believed in freedom of expression, that's why she was killed," Rahimullah Samander told Reuters.

Authorities said an investigation had been launched.

Her killing follows the murder of Sanga Amach, a news presenter for a private television station, at her home in Kabul last Friday.

Reports of official intimidation and harassment of reporters have risen over the last year. Journalists say that local authorities and political bosses, unaccustomed to public scrutiny and criticism, are lashing out and even resorting to thuggery to protest or prevent unflattering coverage.
Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2007

Authorities say they have arrested some suspects in connection with Amach's murder. She had also been ordered by unidentified people to stop her work.

Two years ago, a popular television presenter was shot dead at her house in Kabul. Her death was seen as a so-called honour killing, an attack carried out by a relative because she was deemed to have offended her family's honour.

Independent media has flourished in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Dozens of radio stations and private television channels have opened.

Many channels run largely entertainment programmes and some of their programmes are seen as too modern in the deeply conservative Islamic nation.

The contents of some radio and television stations have angered some religious figures and factional commanders in the male-dominated society where Western powers are trying to ensure democracy and respect for human rights.

More than five years since the Taliban were removed, many women, especially in the countryside, have no access to education, let alone employment, often because of traditional restrictions.

Last month, the country's lower house of parliament sacked an outspoken female member, well known for her criticism of factional commanders, after she said the house worse than a stable.

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