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95pc of journalists’ murder cases unresolved: AFJC

95pc of journalists’ murder cases unresolved: AFJC

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Nov 01, 2018 - 19:45

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Afghanistaninfo-icon Journalists Center (AFJC) on Thursday demanded the government end impunity for violent attacks on journalists, saying 95 percent of cases of killing journalists remain undecided.

More than one hundred journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan during the past two decades. However, the AFJC says only five killers of journalists have been convicted so far.

A statement from the AFJC issued in connection with the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists said 104 journalists and media workers including 15 of them womeninfo-icon had been killed in Afghanistan since 1994.

Two more Afghan journalists during this period were killed in neighboring Pakistaninfo-icon, the statement said.

Four years back, the UN recognized November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in response to increased violence against media workers.

The AFJC in its statement said 86 of the journalists killed in Afghanistan were Afghan citizens and most of them lost their lives for their work.

Mirwais Jalil, a BBC journalist, was the first journalist to be killed after interviewing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a jihadi leader, in Chahar Asiab district of Kabul in 1994.

Four years after this incident, the Talibaninfo-icon killed Mahmod Sarmi, a journalist of IRNA, Iranian based news agency, and a number of Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province.

Some media workers were killed in the beginning of US attacks on Afghanistan in 2001.

The AFJC statement said the Taliban killed 41 journalists, Daesh or Islamic State (IS) 34, illegal armed men 22, Afghan and international forces three, relatives of the journalists three and Afghan police forces one journalist.

Two years ago, a joint body of government and media representatives was formed to work for protection of journalists.

However, the AFJC said efforts of the joint body were not tangible, particularly in ending the impunity for crimes against journalists.

Attorney General Office (AGO) spokesman Jamshid Rasouli said the AGO was committed to addressing cases of crimes against journalists as the office has processed 49 cases relating to media workers in the last two years.

Rasouli said the killer of Palwasha Tokhi, a Radio Bayan worker, was sentenced to death and four people involved in the murder case of Hamid Noori, a presenter of Milli TV, were convicted. One of the convicts was sentenced to death, two to 20 years in jail and one to 12 years in jail.

He said two persons were convicted in the murder case of Shekiba Sanga, a worker of Shamshad TV. One person was sentenced to 16 years in jail and another to one year in jail in her case.

Another two men involved in the killing of Zubair Khaksar, a Milli TV journalist, were sentenced to 16 years in jail each.

In the murder case of Amanullah Attai, head of the Asia TV, one was sentenced to 19.5 years in jail and another to 10.5 years in jail. However, Rasouli said that the verdicts awarded to these convicts were not final.

Ahmad Quraishi, executive chief of the AFJC, said: “Unfortunately despite efforts of the Joint Committee for Safety and Security of Journalists (JCSSJ), the Ministry of Interior and the National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon), murder cases of journalists and media workers could not be properly followed, even NATOinfo-icon troops who are involved in some journalists murder cases do not cooperate.”

“Afghanistan has good progress in media related laws and senior government officials always talk about defending media and journalists rights, but unfortunately their promises remain confined to words only and there is the need for an end to impunity for crimes against journalists,” he said.

He said impunity for crimes against journalists was not acceptable for the media community in Afghanistan and continuation of the situation would seriously damage journalists and media activism in the country.

mds/ma

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