Journalists provided emergency aid in recent weeks: AJSC
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) provided emergency assistance to more than 80 journalists across Kunduz, Helmand and Farah provinces during the past weeks, the committee said on Monday.
In a statement, the AJSC said it was committed to supporting media workers across the country and would continue to provide resources and support to journalists in its goal of promoting freedom of expression and journalist safety in Afghanistan.
AJSC, the most comprehensive journalist safety mechanism in the world, works to support journalists and other media workers through emergency aid provision, advocacy, research studies, legal support and psychosocial assistance.
“2016 has been the bloodiest year in the history of journalism in Afghanistan,” said Najib Sharifi, director of AJSC. “The free media is the biggest achievement of post-2001 Afghanistan, but the country remains a dangerous place for journalists.”
He said since it began recording incidents in 2012, AJSC had recorded dozens of incidences of violence against journalists annually.
With the deterioration of the security situation, journalists also faced an increasingly hostile landscape. The 2016 attack against a Tolo van marked the deadliest day against the free media in the country’s history.
Against this harsh backdrop, AJSC works across all of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces to promote journalist safety and freedom of expression. “We are working in all provinces in Afghanistan, especially high-risk areas, to support journalists and other media workers. AJSC’s ongoing support of journalists in Kunduz, Helmand and Farah is an example of the support we provide,” said Sharifi.
With the fall of Kunduz province to insurgents on October 3, AJSC assisted with relocation of 63 journalists to neighboring provinces, provided monetary support for accommodation and food, mobile phone cards and other emergency aid.
The city has been reclaimed by Afghan government forces, and AJSC is now working to rehabilitate these journalists.
In Helmand province, AJSC assisted with relocation of seven journalists to Kandahar and provided these journalists with accommodation and other support. Amid the ongoing violence in Farah province, AJSC evacuated three journalists to Herat on military flights, and is providing ongoing support to six Farah journalists in Herat, including two female journalists.
“Evacuation of journalists is problematic because after journalists are evacuated, the conflict may not be properly reported,” said Sharifi. “But the Taliban have a record of destroying media houses and threatening and killing journalists. Safety has to be the priority. When journalists decide to leave, we support them.”
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