AFP, May 16, 2008
Afghan Female journalist stabbed
A FEMALE Afghani journalist was stabbed and wounded today, authorities said, a day after unknown men threatened to kill her unless she quit her job at a local television station.
From correspondents in Herat
Nilofar Habibi was stabbed by unknown men who threatened her to stop appearing on T.V.
The information ministry said the attack on Nelofar Habibi, a 22-year-old journalist and television presenter in the western city of Herat, was conducted by the "enemies of Afghanistan" - a phrase used for anti-government groups.
She was said to be in a stable condition in hospital.
Ms Habibi, employed by the government-owned Herat TV, had been threatened several times, said television head Ihsamuddin Shams.
"A woman came to my home and asked for a glass of water. As I was to bring her water she stabbed me in abdomen," Ms Habibi said.
Yesterday, Ms Habibi was cut on the arm with a razor blade allegedly by unknown men who she said had told her to stop working.
"Yesterday I was dragged into a car and was cut in the arm by several men. They told me 'if you appear again on TV we will kill you'," she said.
Last month, grenades were thrown into the home of another female Herat journalist, radio talk show host Khadija Ahad, also apparently because of her job.
Two female journalists, one of them a TV presenter, died in mysterious attacks last year.
It was not clear if the killings were related to their work, but women are under pressure in Afghanistan, where conservative Islamic circles, including the Taliban, believe they should not appear on television.
Male journalists also face difficulties, despite a so-called "free media," with authorities and clerics regularly alleging violations of religious standards and other powerbrokers trying to intimidate reporters.
A 23-year-old Afghani journalist from the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif has been sentenced to death on charges of blasphemy after he was accused of downloading articles from the internet said to be critical of Islam.
Perwiz Kambakhsh has been in jail for around seven months and his appeal has been repeatedly delayed.
Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday urged authorities to speed up procedures so Kambakhsh could receive a "fair hearing, far from the influence of religious fundamentalists".
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