By: Suraya Raiszada
As international journalists organizations consider Afghanistan as the worst countries for journalists, the Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) has informed that violence against journalists decreased by 13 percent in 2019 in Afghanistan.
Speaking to journalists in news conference the other day, head of AJCS Najib Sharifi considered joint efforts of Afghanistan government and media organizations for improvement of journalist safety programs, peace process, defeating Daesh in the country’s east and reduction in number of foreign journalists in the country as main reasons for reduction of violence against journalists in the country.
AFJSC documented five murder cases, 25 threats, seven kidnapping, 18 injuries, 12 beating, 23 cases of insult and bad behavior, one case of illegal dismissal, three cases of arrest and one case of illegal behavior in 2019, said Najib Sharifi, the committee head.
He said murder cases in 2019 showed a 71 percent decrease as 17 murder cases took place in 2018.
Sharifi said two murder cases of journalists were blamed on Taliban and one on Daesh rebels and the remaining two on powerful individuals.
Most or 42 cases of violence were attributed to government, 33 cases to Taliban, seven cases to powerful individuals, four cases to Daesh, one case to robbers in 2019.
Media director admitted in five cases of bad behavior in 2019, he said. “Of 105 cases of violence, 18 cases involved,” Sharifi added.”
Head of the committee by expressing concern over continued violence against journalists in Afghanistan praised the government for steps taken for safety and security of journalists and addressing their problems.
Officials for the Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) considered creation of the committee between the government and media, ratification and modification of draft law on access to information, exemption media from financial crimes and expansion of reporting system for journalists as the most significant steps taken by the government.
As the committee informs of developments in work of journalists in the country, concern has raised over stopping of activities by media organizations due to financial problems.
Sharifi said 40 media outlets ceased operations in 2019 due to their financial problems, but another 25 started activities.
He added due to serious financial problems, a number of media outlets stopped their activities in 2019.
He urged the international community and the Afghan government to support Afghanistan media outlets.
A number of media activists by welcoming the report issued by AJSC in connection with reduction of violence against journalists stressed on further cooperation between the government and media in the country.
“Fortunately we witness reduction of vilence against journalists and media workers in 2019, but there are stil challenges facing journalists in Afghanistan,” said Marwa, an internship media employee working for a media organization in Kabul.
She added that she was interested in working as a journalist, asking the government to take security and safety of female journalists as serious.
Meanwhile, Sayeeda Sediqi, another female journalist working for Bakhtar News Agency, believes that female journalists are facing with serious problems as there are unpleasant traditions of families and lack of safe working environment for female journalists in the country. This comes at a time when 2019 has been once considered as the most challenging year for media, but fortunately violence level against journalists has reduced significantly comparing to previous years.