KABUL: A report released by Afghan Journalists Safety Committee Thursday said 2017 was proved to be deadliest year for journalists and media in the history of Afghanistan.
The report depicting the status of violence and intimidation against journalists and media workers in 2017, underlined other prominent issues and happenings in the realm of media and freedom of expression in this year.
AJSC recorded a total of 169 incidences of violence and intimidation, which includes killing, injury, beating, detention, threats and verbal assault of journalists and media workers. 20 journalists were killed, all by the Taliban and the Afghanistan branch of ISIS.
The data shows a 67% increase of incidences compared to the year 2016. The incidences of killing of journalists also increased by 54%, as 13 journalists were killed in 2016. 7% of the incidences of violence and intimidation were inflicted on women journalists and media workers.
“The remarkable rise in the level of violence against journalists and media workers in Afghanistan is a matter of great concern for us and for the media community at large. Continuation of such vast scale of violence, particularly the incidences of killings, will significantly hurt freedom of press and expression, which are considered the Afghanistan’s significant achievements since 2001. We call on all parties, particularly the ISIS and the Taliban to refrain from attacking journalists and media”, said Najib Sharifi, AJSC’s Director.
The report attributes the rise in the level of violence against journalists in the perpetuation of impunity vis-à-vis assaulting journalists, growing level of attack against media by terrorist groups and the general escalation of insecurity and instability in the country.
“Terrorist groups’ violence against journalists has risen by 28% compared to 2016,” it said.
The AJSC called on all relevant organizations such as security entities, media outlets and media support organizations to join forces towards protection of journalists and media workers, as media community will not be able to sustain such level of loss. AJSC reminded all parties that journalists are civilians and attacking them could amount to war crimes. The report urged the Afghan government to take necessary measures to end the lingering impunity of crimes against journalists.