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Afghanistan Disappointedly Ignores Co-Sponsoring UN Resolution on Journalists Safety

December 13, 2017

Kabul: Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) is disappointed to learn that the Afghan government failed to co-sponsor the UN resolution on safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, while Afghanistan continues to be among the most dangerous places for journalists with widespread impunity in place.

The UNGA resolution on "the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity", initiated by Greece, Argentina, Austria, Costa Rica, France, and Tunisia, was adopted (https://www.ifex.org/international/2017/11/23/unga-attacks-women-journalists) at the Third Committee of the UNGA on 20 November 2017 by consensus. It received the support of 88 cosponsoring UN Member States from across all regions and Afghanistan is not included

“We are regretted that Afghanistan did not co-sponsor the recent UN resolutions on the safety of journalists at the UN General Assembly (GA resolution 70/162, December 2015) or UN Human Rights Council (HRC resolution 33/2, September 2016) and it was important that Afghanistan take a firm and public stance in favour of journalists’ freedom on the international stage at the UN this year.” said Ahmad Quraishi, AFJC Executive Director.

He added that despite President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s commitments, Afghanistan did not support the resolution which is a disappointing move.

On November 12, 2017, AFJC, a member of the global IFEX network, together with the global freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19, in a letter to Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to UN requested to co-sponsor the new resolution on safety of journalists and issue of impunity.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) Third Committee has adopted a significant resolution on the safety of journalists, calling upon all States to take comprehensive action to end impunity for attacks on journalists, with a focus on tackling attacks that target or disproportionately affect women journalists. It also reiterates crucial commitments States have made to release all arbitrarily detained journalists, reform legal frameworks so they are not abused to undermine media freedom, protect digital security, cease Internet shutdowns, and end the forced closure of media outlets.

As per AFJC’s records, 73 Journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan and two Afghan journalists killed in Pakistan since 1994 and the government has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice and also the impunity for them stands at more than 90%.

On 2 November, the UN marked the fourth International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, which was created by the first UNGA resolution on this topic in 2013. The latest resolution is the fourth from the UNGA addressing this issue since 2013, and is the most comprehensive and most broadly supported yet.

AFJC calls upon Afghan leaders to stand by their commitments both the national and international stages and ensure the safety of journalists and ending of impunity in the country.

TV journalist wounded in Kabul suicide attack dies

November 17, 2017

Kabul: An Afghan journalist, who was seriously injured during a suicide attack in Kabul, succumbed to his wounds in hospital, officials said Friday November 17, 2017.

A suicide attacker blew himself up outside a political gathering in Kabul killing at least 14 people and injured 20 others including two journalists from local Rah-e-Farda TV station, officials said.
Kabul police spokesman Basir Mujahid said Hosain Nazari, the cameraman was seriously injured and died at hospital after few hours in coma.

Also, head of Mitra TV Tahir Qaderi told AFJC that his colleagues were transmitting the event live, no one was wounded but a staff vehicle of the station was destroyed in the attack.
Islamic State group (ISIS or Daesh) claimed the deadly attack in a brief message via its Amaq propaganda agency.
Death of Nazari brought to 11 the number of journalists and media workers killed in Afghanistan in 2017. Afghanistan Journalists Center's findings show that since 1993 as many as 74 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan – 14 of them women journalists.

Gunmen storm TV station Kabul

November 7, 2017

Kabul: Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) strongly condemns the gunmen attack on Shamshad TV station in Kabul, in which killed two persons and wounding two dozen others in the latest deadly attack on Afghan journalists.

Shamshad TV station came under attack after a suicide attacker detonated explosives at the gate of the network’s compound at 10 am – which opened the way for other gunman to enter the facility.

“Attackers had been wearing police uniforms and one of them managed to enter a building where at least 200 employees were working.” Shamshad News Director Abed Ehsas told ToloNews TV at a hospital where some of his wounded colleagues were being treated.

“Security agencies did not tell us that we were under threat. We would have been informed if they sent us a letter, but we stand again and such attack cannot silence us,” he added

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack which lasted about three hours before Afghan Special Forces overpowered the attackers, who were armed with guns and grenades, and freed staff trapped inside the building.

Interior ministry said two people including an employee of the TV station had been killed and 24 people wounded, including four firefighters.

“We strongly condemn the attack; this attack is a brazen assault not just on one TV station but on the entire media and free expression in Afghanistan,” Said Ahmad Quraishi, Executive Director of Afghanistan Journalists Center

We call on the Afghan government to strengthen its efforts to secure media organization and media workers' safety and to put in place all possible means to limit the risks, he added

This is the second deadly attack on media organizations in Afghanistan in 2017.  On May 17, six people including four employee of the RTA state broadcaster were killed in ISIS raid on the Station in eastern Jalal Abad city.

 

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