PAN, March 19, 2012
Violence against journalists up: Nai
Incidents of violence against journalists showed a 38 percent increase in 2011, rising concerns among the community that the hostility could continue to rise this year, a media support organisation said on Monday.
“On average, three journalists have been killed in Afghanistan every year. In the most recent case, the manager of Melma radio station was murdered in (southeastern) Paktika province,” the group said.
Nai, an organistaion that has been providing advocacy and support to free media in Afghanistan since 2004, lamented the lack of follow-up and punishment to perpetrators contributed to aggression against journalists.
According to the Nye(ph) Center for Open Media, since 2001, more than 250 journalists have been threatened, kidnapped, beaten, arrested and/or killed. Siddiqullah Tawhidi, the director of Afghan Media Watch says Afghan government officials were blamed for 55 percent of the incidents, 16 percent were blamed on Taliban militants, and 26 percent were attributed to unknown armed groups.
NPR, Nov. 25, 2011
“Additionally, the culture of demonstration has not yet matured in Afghanistan as demonstrators still continue to beat journalists at rallies. This, in conjunction with many other reasons, dissemination of information and the overall journalism profession is facing serious challenges,” it added.
In a statement, Nai accused government officials of striving to impose curbs on journalists’ work. Some other government entities do not appreciate the freedom of expression and press freedom at all.
In addition, it said, internal organisational interventions and censorship had also made journalists’ job difficult. “For personal reasons, some media proprietors place reporters and presenters under pressure.
“This calls for active intervention by the Ministry of Information and Culture. But unfortunately, this ministry does not pay as much attention to implementation of the mass media law as is required.”
A decade after Taliban’s ouster from power, media and journalists were still facing serious problems which had been aggravated with unrealistic propaganda about the process of peace with the Taliban, Nai continued.
The organisation said the freedom of expression was a phenomenon that the Taliban and other fundamentalist groups could not be at peace with. “Therefore, they try to destroy it.”
Two acid attacks on journalists and media staff were recorded last year. “However, law enforcement bodies have failed to trace the perpetrators.”
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