RSF to approach international courts over Afghan journalist deaths

KABUL (Tolo News): Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that the Afghan government does not have the capacity to investigate the murder cases of Afghan journalists, and the organization will lodge a complaint with the International courts

This comes as the Afghan government has been insisting that the Taliban were behind the attacks on the Afghan journalists, something the Taliban have always denied. The Taliban on Wednesday released a statement in which the group rejected any involvement in the spate of targeted killings that have taken the lives of many journalists and civil society activists in the country.

“It has been some time that some religious scholars, journalists and political figures have been deliberately killed in different parts of the country,” the group said in a statement. “The Islamic Emirate has always denied and condemned such killings, calling it detrimental to the country,” the statement said. “The Islamic Emirate calls on the world and our compatriots to know those elements and circles that do such things at this critical stage, in order to muddy the water and catch fish,” the statement said.

“The impunity and opaqueness surrounding the murders of journalists are a major scourge in Afghanistan, but a godsend for all those seeking to destroy press freedom in this country,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk. “It is vital that the Afghan authorities guarantee and reinforce the safety of media personnel. At the same time, RSF is exploring all possible international remedies for ending the spiral of violence.”

In a December 31 communiqué, the NDS said it had thwarted three attacks against journalists in the provinces de Khost, Kabul and Ghazni. Threats and violence against journalists and media have surged in Afghanistan in recent months, although a respite might have been expected because of the peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Nearly 100 political and civil society actors, including five media workers, have been the targets of attacks in the past two years.

Afghanistan is ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. “Regarding the murders of the journalists, particularly these five murders, of course we will file a complaint with the international courts,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk. “Now it’s the duty of the Afghan government to provide transparency and tell the Afghan journalism and media community about those who are behind these murders,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, the head of NAI.

“Today our journalists are not safe, our civil society activists are not safe, even the women are not safe,” said Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of Balkh. “The Taliban are behind the recent spate of terrorist attacks on the journalists and civil society activists,” said Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

Last month, a Taliban spokesman in an interview with Radio Azadi said that it had dropped the names of TOLO TV and 1TV from its list of military targets. In 2016, the Taliban targeted a vehicle of Moby Group, which owns TOLO TV and TOLOnews, and killed seven of its employees.

Those who lost their lives in 2020 are: Safar Mohammad Atal, an anchor of Samson Radio in Helmand; Ahmad Khan Nawid, an anchor of Ghor Radio in Feroz Koh city; Mir Wahid Shah Amiri, Khorshid TV reporter in Kabul; Shafiq Zabih, a cameraman at Khorshid TV; Elyas Daee, a Radio Azadi reporter in Helmand; Malala Maiwand, Eekas TV anchor in Nangarhar; Rahmatullah Nekzad, a freelance reporter in Ghazni; Tahir Khan, a driver at Enekas TV in Nangarhar.

On the first day of 2021, a reporter, Bismillah Adil Aimaq, was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Ghor. He was head of a local radio station in the province. What the Afghans ask today is: Who is the real perpetrator who takes the lives of the nation’s elites?