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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid