Journalist still under threat, censorship: RSF
KABUL (PAN): A global journalist protection group on Thursday voiced its concern over increasing attacks and threats against Afghan journalists in recent months, asking the authorities to control the situation.
Since the start of the current year, Reporters Without Borders noted, there had been at least 30 cases of physical attacks and threats against journalists by local officials, policemen and Taliban. Ten of the cases occurred in the past 10 days.
Also known as RSF, the watchdog condemned the increase in violence and threats against journalists in Afghanistan, as well as calls by government officials for the censorship of certain news media.
“The government must redouble its efforts to protect journalists in response to this increase in threats and violence by Taliban, enemies of freedom of information and other pressure groups,” a statement from RSF said.
It added the government’s indifference to the violations of hard-won fundamental freedoms was endangering the public’s right to be informed.
On April 22, two motorcyclists opened fire on radio journalist Aliasghar Yaghobi’s car in the western province of Herat, injuring him in the chest. Yaghobi, who works for Radio Mojdeh, was taken to a hospital, where doctors said his injuries were not life-threatening.
Ghor-based journalist Ahmad Nadim Ghori, who edits the monthly Sam, received several death threats from the Taliban on April 17. Ghori called his daughter’s journalistic activities “an additional reason for these threats”.
Ebrahim Mohammadi, a journalist with privately-owned Radio Faryad and Afghanistan’s National Radio in the western province of Farah, was also the target of a Taliban death threat on April 13, the RSF added.
It also spoke of threats to Tolo TV journalist Vali Arien, an attack on Nasir Ahmad Sadegh of Tele 1, Abdulmalik Khorasani, the owner of Radio Kocheh, Nasir Ahmad Reha of Asia TV, Sharif Assel and Aziz Ahmad.
For the second time in less than two months, President Hamid Karzai gave orders to the information and culture ministry on April 22 to prevent the dissemination of films and broadcasts that are contrary to Islamic values and the values of Afghan society, the statement added.
“Although the Afghan authorities are the guarantors of the constitution, which is supposed to prohibit censorship, we are increasingly disturbed by their directives and by the accusations they make. These attacks are not compatible with the responsibilities of a democratic government.
“The Afghan Council of Ulema is using its influence over President Karzai to impose repressive laws on the media and journalists on the pretext of combating immorality and defending Islamic values.
“But, despite having had many opportunities, the council has never condemned threats and violence against the media and journalists, although such violence is completely incompatible with the Islamic values it claims to defend,” it concluded.
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