RAWA News, August 3, 2008
Naseer Fayyaz: Me and my family are in danger
Open letter from Naser Fayaz, ATN journalist, which has been sent to UNAMA and some other human rights organizations
This is Nasrer Fayyaz, the ATN journalist who was illegally detained by the Afghan intelligence agency, the NDS. I want to thank all the national and international organizations and all the print and electronic media outlets which fought for my release.
RAWA requests all its supporters and well-wishers of Afghan people to defend the brave and freedom-loving journalist Naseer Fayyaz and register their protest to his harassment by sending letters to the following sources:
President Hamid Karzai
As you know on Monday 28 July, NDS agents briefly detained me and the same day in the evening again I was detained by the intelligence agency and released after one night. The detention took place due to my investigative program Haqeeqat- the Truth which is based on facts and truths is broadcast every Sunday at 9:30 PM on Ariana Television. The program also reflects the current political, social and economic issues of the country.
The 27 July program which was based on Afghan government’s performance during the last four years was pulled off the air mid-broadcast on the demand of the intelligence agency which had called to the station. This is against the freedom of the press and violation of the Article 34 of Afghan's Constitution.
The show was discussed at the regular council of ministers meeting on Monday which accused me of "insulting" top government officials, and which was followed by my detention by the intelligence officials. Let me assure you that there was nothing against the national interest and everything was based on facts.
This is against the constitution because Afghan law has due process provisions in cases where a journalist is accused of violations. It calls for the creation of an independent investigative committee composed of lawyers, journalists and other professionals.
As you know that several organizations known for supporting Human rights and Freedom of Speech condemned the detention. Reporters without border has urged the Afghan government to be clearer and more serious in its policy towards Freedom of Speech in the country saying it is not the responsibility of the intelligence agency to oversee media activities in the country.
This case is not the first where journalism has been jeopardized in Afghanistan. At several instances in the past governmental agencies have harassed media activists in the country. This is the fact that journalists and media workers in Afghanistan have come under increasing threats and attacks by both state and non-state actors and several journalists have been killed. The government, in particular the NDS and the Ulema Council (council of religious scholars), have attempted to reduce the media's independence.[utube]VvGzhrfGKMI[/utube]
Amnesty International in its report has said that the Afghan government must prevent the country’s intelligence agency, the NDS from suppressing media freedom. Amnesty International says the NDS has no right to interfere in this case and its involvement signifies an unwarranted government intrusion on Afghanistan’s media. He adds the NDS should not become a tool for the government to intimidate its critics. Officially the NDS only has the authority to address national security threats.
After my detention and release from the intelligence agency, I am feeling very scared. Only last night when I was reading Dari bulletin on our ATN channel, one of my colleagues in the station received a call from my brother at home informing that he has been witnessing some suspicious movements around my house. Over telephone he said that several armed persons with big turbans and suspected attire were moving around my residence. He told me not to go home because it could be threat to my life. And right from that time I have not visited my house; I am at a safer place provided by my employer ATN.
And as you are aware of the developments in my case, the situation what I have been going through is intimidating me. I don’t feel safe and also I am concerned about my family. I am passing through a kind of fear right after my release. It seems any time any thing can happen to me and my family.
Seemingly it is possible that I might be attacked when I come to office from my home and when I go home from office. And the same case might happen with my family. They may be attacked at any time in my presence or in my absence. Therefore I request you to save me and my family members providing me and my family members with armed protection.
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