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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid