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Ending impunity for crimes against journalists

KABUL, 02 November 2016 - Pernille Dahler Kardel, Deputy Special Representative (Political) for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) DSRSG, Kardel addressing an event in Kabul marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in Kabul. Photo UNAMA / Fardin Waezi.

By: Lailuma Noori

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution 163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violences against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.
In Afghanistan, crimes against journalists are incredibly continuing as journalists are targeted and attacked; therefore, it is needed to end the culture of impunity of violence against journalists in the country and the UN is ready to cooperate in this regard, according to UN officials to Afghanistan.
Based on reports, currently terrorist groups are in direct fight against media and have clear enmity with journalists. In recent years, a large number of journalists have been killed, wounded and somehow harassed in Afghanistan.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danesh has said violence against journalists and media workers has three separate dimensions in Afghanistan.
“We split free media activities and in general freedom of expression and work of media workers and journalists from current political system of Afghanistan, the government will lose its existed philosophy,” Danesh said.
Violence against journalists is somehow culture of impunity which has now changed as a challenging debate in Afghanistan as a number of powerful figures, non-government powerful individuals, mafia involved in trafficking, irresponsible commanders usually perpetrate violence and illegal acts against journalists and media workers in the country.
According to figures issued by Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee, 20 cases of violence against journalists and media workers such as murder, hitting, threatening and others have been registered in the committee since the beginning of 2019.
Meanwhile, Journalists without Borders in its 2019 report has said Afghanistan has dropped three stairs and is now in 121st position in freedom of media due to increasing insecurities.
On the other hand, international community has expressed their concern over increasing problems facing Afghan female journalists in remote areas and provinces of Afghanistan as most Afghan female journalists are facing with gender discrimination.
Nevertheless, despite of all problems facing Afghanistan, the country is now in better position in the field of freedom of expression as Afghanistan is in top position in freedom of expression in the region.
It is worth mentioning that Afghanistan Attorney General Office (AGO) has created directorate of international crimes investigation to address crime cases against human including violence cases against journalists in the country.

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The Kabul Times.