News / Asia

Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan Increasing

Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan Increasingi
X
May 27, 2013 6:41 PM
The rise of independent media in Afghanistan has been one of the country's biggest achievements -- but there are troubling signs for its future. Bethany Matta reports that a growing number of attacks on journalists, and the international community's continued silence on the issue, are drawing concern.
Violence Against Journalists in Afghanistan Increasing
Bethany Matta
The rise of independent media in Afghanistan has been one of the country's biggest achievements - but there are troubling signs for its future. A growing number of attacks on journalists, and the international community's continued silence on the issue, are drawing concern.

Naqibullah, a shopkeeper on so-called "electronic street" in Kabul, sells TVs and DVD players

"Over the past 10 years under the Karzai government, I would say 85 percent of people are using TVs, DVDs, radio and other devices if they can access them. People are so interested in watching the news and other programs on TV," Naqibullah said.

The country now boasts 75 TV channels, 175 radio stations, and hundreds of newspapers and magazines.

Yet, behind the headlines lies another story.

Since January there have been 36 cases of violence against journalists - a 40 percent increase over last year.

Footage from Takhar province shows a police officer just after he smashed a journalist's car. The officer told a television cameraman he was acting on orders from the local chief of police - who for a year has been repeatedly accused of assaulting and threatening journalists.

The abusive police chief was fired in May. Although journalists have criticized the dismissal as being a year late, Sadiq Siddiqi, the Interior Ministry's spokesman, says the government is very supportive of free media  "...and we will support, fully support that, and that is the policy of the Afghan government, but unfortunately in some areas there are some individuals who do not understand that reality and that policy, and cannot implement that polic," Siddiqi said.

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, however, claims the government is the main perpetrator of violence against journalists.

Committee spokesman Najib Sharifi says the international community's failure to speak out on the issue has given government officials the idea their behavior is acceptable.

"A strong and adamant position from the international community about the concepts would create the perception in the mind of the Afghan government workers and non-state players who are usually behind the acts of violence against reporters - it creates the perception that the international community is serious about this issue," Sharifi said.

In a country like Afghanistan, where victims of violence can be killed for telling their stories, so can the journalists who assist them.

1TV's show "Mask" seeks out women who have been abused and invites them on the show to tell their stories.  Islamic scholars and clerics listen and respond to the victims' tales.

"Mask" producer Sorosh Azami has been targeted twice by the families of the victims who appeared on the show.

"Two weeks ago a husband beat his wife. Her hand and nose were broken so she called me for help, her husband went to jail and a divorce is in the process.  I am supporting and handling this prosecution and the family issues. Who will support this woman if I don't? This is my job," Azami said.

In an already tense reporting environment, and with presidential elections less than a year away, media rights groups fear the number of violent acts against journalists will only increase.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs