Deputy information minister queries Nai report
KABUL (PAN): Ministry of Information and Culture officials on Wednesday rejected as baseless a report that there has been a 38 percent increase in violence against journalists during the current year in Afghanistan.
Nai, an organisation that supports independent media in Afghanistan, on Tuesday released its annual report that said 80 incidents of violence against journalists had been registered so far during the current year, compared to 58 in 2010.
Three journalists were killed, six injured, two arrested, 33 beaten, 21 threatened and 15 others insulted, said Siddiqullah Tawhidi, the Nai head.
The slain journalists included a reporter with Pajhwok Afghan News and BBC, Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, a cameraman with an Iranian television channel, Farhad Taqadussi, and a Laghman-based radio reporter, Jafar Wafa.
However, Deputy Information Minister Din Mohammad Mubarez Rashidi told a news conference in Kabul that official statistics showed only four such incidents had taken place so far this year.
He said the Ministry of Information and Culture was the only entity where reporters registered their complaints. "Nai cannot register all cases. A reporter in a province might have called it and it would have registered the call as a complaint without any investigation."
He said he had respect for the Nai, but could not confirm its report as true. Rashidi called on journalists to inform the ministry if they faced any problem. "We will seriously follow your case," he added. Violence against media people was simply unacceptable, he concluded.