Attack on journalists widely slammed
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations and a Paris-based watchdog on Friday joined President Hamid Karzai in denouncing the attack on Associated Press journalists in southeastern Khost province.
A gunman in a police uniform one female western journalist and wounded another in Tanai district. The slain journalist was identified as German photographer Anja Niedringhaus and the injured as senior reporter Kathy Gannon.
A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as directing the Ministry of Interior and the Khost governor to provide the injured journalist with the best medical facilities.
The president condoled with the bereaved family of the slain reporter and prayed for swift recovery of the wounded journalist.
Similarly, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement strongly condemned what it called “the abhorrent attack on two international journalists today.”
“I am outraged by this terror attack on civilians,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNAMA, Ján Kubiš. “The journalists were going about their work, informing the world how Afghan citizens are exercising their right to shape a better future for themselves, their children and their country,” he added.
In addition, the Reporters Without Borders was dismayed by today’s fatal shooting of the pair journalists.
In a statement, the Reporters Without Borders said: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Anja Niedringhaus’s family and friends,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “The shooting has highlighted the permanent and ubiquitous danger for reporters in some regions of Afghanistan.
“It is all the more shocking for apparently being the work of a policeman who should have been protecting Afghan and foreign journalists. We call on the authorities to do everything possible to guarantee the safety of journalists, whose role is crucial at the height of the electoral process.”
Ismaïl added: “By imposing a climate of terror, armed groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network and Al-Qaeda are trying to get as many observers as possible to flee and to force the closure of large numbers of polling stations – all this in order to undermine the presidential election’s legitimacy.”
Reporters Without Borders reiterated the utmost importance of protecting the journalists who were in Afghanistan to cover tomorrow’s presidential election.
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