The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Impunity for crimes against journalists should be ended

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Democracy depends on the ability of journalists to express the truth to ruling power, investigate abuses, contribute to and strengthen public debate, and provide people with information on the world around them. Impunity for abuses which seek to silence journalists is a global threat to freedom of expression and open societies, and one that persists year on year with little improvement.
According to UN, attacks on journalists take many forms. Journalists can face decades of imprisonment, mistreatment at the hands of police, threats and harassment from state or private actors, sexual violence, physical attacks and murder for exposing abuses, voicing dissent and reporting on protests and political processes. The persistent failure to take action against those responsible and investigate many of these crimes is a tacit acceptance by governments of crimes against freedom of expression.
Afghanistan celebrated the international day of ending impunity for crimes against journalists at the time that last 18 years have been a challenging years before media workers in the country. According to a report of Reporters Sans Frontier, the year of 2018 has been a bloody year for Afghan media as15 media workers were killed in Afghanistan.
But addressing a gathering in Kabul marking the international day of ending impunity for crimes against journalists, the deputy minister of information and culture on publications Fazil Sancharaki said that government of national unity has seriously investigated up to 1000 cases of violence against journalists over the last few years.
“A mechanism has been created within the framework of the joint government and media committee, that assesses all cases of violence against journalist as soon as possible,” Sancharaki assured.
The deputy minister went on saying that more than 100 journalists were killed across the country in last 18 years, adding terrorist groups, mafia bands, powerful individuals and international forces were mainly behind the violence against Afghan journalists. He said that a letter has been sent to ministry of foreign affairs to follow up those violence cases committed by foreign forces in the country.
Indeed, a free press is critical to public and political participation. Independent media brings the public information on the world around them and enables debate. However, in many countries, including Afghanistan, journalists face violence and legal harassment intended to silence them: in covering protests, elections and reporting or voicing opinions on issues of public and political debate, journalists face increasing hostility across the world.
In order to tackle this global threat to freedom of expression and journalists’ safety, states must urgently take steps to tackle impunity at multiple levels. The UN has set out a range of actions that governments must take to end this pervasive human rights violation.
Meanwhile the independent media advocate organizations in close cooperation with government should create and maintain a suitable environment for journalists, through state policy, practice and rhetoric.
Meanwhile, the judiciary, law enforcement entities and military personnel, as well as journalists and civil society, should be trained on international standards on the safety of journalists and freedom of expression, as well as equality and tackling gender-based abuses.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.