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‘Impunity for killers of journalists must end’

‘Impunity for killers of journalists must end’

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Jun 09, 2015 - 20:09

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday reiterated its condemnation of the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for crimes against media personnel in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Although the national unity government has taken some measures designed to improve the freedom of press, including dissolving a commission tasked with investigating violations by media outlets.

The government has also approved the law on access to information, but journalists are increasingly targeted in violent acts, the organisation said in a statement.

The statement follows death anniversaries of two well-known journalists, Zakia Zaki, the owner of Peace Radio in Parwan province, and Abdul Samad Rohani, who worked for Pajhwok Afghan News and the BBC in southern Helmand province.

The killers of the two journalists remain on the loose. Rohani’s body was found seven years ago. Zaki’s eighth death anniversary was observed two days ago.

Recently a lawmaker from northern Baghlan province, Haji Asheghalah Wafa, threatened the head of local Tanvir TV, Shir Mohammad Jahesh, on May 26, saying: “Your life will end this Saturday, May 30, when I arrive,” the Reporters Without Borders said.

Jahesh told the organisation he was terrified by the threat and sought refuge in Kabul. “All this was because of a report about a police commander who was replaced and transferred to another region,” he said.

President Ashraf Ghani has signed a letter of commitment to support free media and journalists and the letter has been endorsed by Abdullah Abdullah, his chief executive in the national unity government.

“It (the letter) aims to render justice and end impunity and to reopen cases of journalists murdered during the past ten years.”

Journalists have paid a high price in Afghanistan since 2001. At least 33 journalists have been killed in line of duty.

They include 15 foreign journalists --- four German, two French, two Italian, two Swedish, one Australian, one Canadian, one Norwegian, one American, and one British. Most of these murders are still unpunished, the statement added.

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