By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: A new study from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, underscores the risks that journalists face, showing that almost 90 per cent of those found responsible for the deaths of more than 1,100 of them, between 2006 and 2018, have not been convicted.
The report, “Intensified Attacks, New Defenses”, also notes that killings of journalists have risen by some 18 per cent in the past five years (2014-2018), compared to the previous five-year period.
The deadliest countries for journalists, according to the statistics, are Arab States, where almost a third of the killings took place. The Latin American and Caribbean region (26 per cent), and Asian and Pacific States (24 per cent) are the next most dangerous.
Journalists are often murdered for their reporting on politics, crime and corruption, and this is reflected in the study, which reveals that, in the past two years (2017-2018), more than half of journalist fatalities were in non-conflict zones.
In his statement, the Secretary-General of UN noted the rise in the scale and number of attacks on journalists and media workers, as well as incidents that make their work much harder, including “threats of prosecution, arrest, imprisonment, denial of journalistic access and failures to investigate and prosecute crimes against them”.
This year UNESCO has launched the #KeepTruthAlive social media campaign, which draws attention to the dangers faced by journalists close to their homes, highlighting the fact that 93% of those killed work locally, and featuring an interactive map created for the campaign, which provides a vivid demonstration of the scale and breadth of the dangers faced by journalists worldwide.
Meanwhile, In a report published on this occasion, the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) said that in the past two decades, 109 journalists and media workers have lost their lives in Afghanistan.
The center added that no serious attention was paid to investigating the cases of murder and brutality against journalists, and that only six were brought to justice.
The International Committee to Protect Journalists reported that Afghanistan is the worst country for perpetrators not being brought to justice for crimes against journalists out of a group with Somalia, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, the Philippines, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, India and Nigeria.
In the past few years eleven reporters and media personnel from Moby Group have lost their lives in various incidents. In the latest incident, journalist Samim Faramarz, a reporter and Ramiz Ahmadi, a TOLOnews photographer, lost their lives last year in a terrorist incident in Kabul.
Yet one year after the incident, Ahmadi’s family say the perpetrators of their son’s murder have not been prosecuted.
Meanwhile, a number of journalists and members of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee are concerned about the continuing violence against journalists in Afghanistan.
“Unfortunately, violence continues. It is true that 2019 was a relatively better year, but I say it is relatively better in terms of the number of murders. But 2018 was the worst year because we lost so many of our colleagues,” said Waheeda Faizi, a member of the committee.
However, the Attorney General’ office says they are trying to address the journalist’s murder and violent cases. “About 60 cases of violence against journalists that have filed with the Afghan Attorney General—all of them have been addressed; there is no case of violence against reporters that remains without investigation or result,” said Jamshid Rasouly, AGO spokesman.
According to statistics from the International Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), nearly a hundred reporters have lost their lives every year in the last twelve years, and ten percent of them were in Afghanistan.