Kabul, Jan 19, 2017: According to a report released Thursday, Afghanistan suffered its deadliest year on record for journalists in 2016. The report stated that the country has grabbed the spot of the second most dangerous nation for reporters in the world after Syria.
Not less than 13 journalists were killed last year, the Afghan Journalists’ Safety Committee (AJSC) said, adding that the Taliban was responsible for at least ten of the deaths.
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101 cases of violence against the media in 2016, a 38 percent increase on 2015, had been found by the committee; underscoring the threat against a small band of media workers who put their lives on the line to report events in their war-torn country and help the events reach the masses.
“This increase in violence against journalists has turned Afghanistan into the second most dangerous country for journalists in the world, after Syria,” chairman of the committee, Najib Sharifi, told reporters on Thursday.
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The report marked that a shift in the Taliban’s policy and actions towards the media was the “main driver of the increase in the level of threats and deadly violence against journalists”.
Seven employees of popular TV channel Tolo, often critical of the militants, were slaughtered in a Taliban suicide bombing episode in Kabul in what the insurgent group said was a revenge for “spreading propaganda” against them in January last year.
Since the Taliban were dethroned from power in 2001, it was the first major attack on an Afghan media organisation and spotlighted the dangers media workers face in Afghanistan as the safety issue worsens amid a growing tide of militant attacks and increasing violence.
In June, the Taliban murdered American journalist David Gilkey and his Afghan translator in a rocket attack in southern Helmand province.
But the report also pointed out the fact that the majority of violent incidents against journalists were executed by government forces, with the European Union’s raging criticism regarding the “alarming” trend.
“The government should take utmost measures to bring perpetrators of threats, attacks and killing of journalists to justice,” the EU delegation to Afghanistan said in a statement.
According to the figures presented by AJSC, 28 journalists and media workers have been killed in the past five years in Afghanistan.
The raising atrocities against media must be handled carefully and the Government must come up with steps to prevent more such incidents from happening.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang