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Two Media Workers Killed, 13 other Wounded In Kabul Blast

May 31, 2017

Kabul: AFJC strongly condemns today’s horrific suicide attack in Kabul city that killed at least 85 people, including a TOLO TV employee and a BBC driver and wounded 400 plus others that 13 of them are media workers.

According to the Tolonews, Aziz Nawin, 22, was killed while on his way to work. He worked in the IT department for MOBY, the holding company of TOLO TV and TOLOnews.

In addition, a driver for BBC was killed and four other BBC staff members were wounded in the incident.

“It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir following the vehicle bomb in Kabul earlier today, as he was driving journalist colleagues to the office,” Francesca Unsworth, the BBC World Service Director, said in a statement.

“Four BBC journalists were also injured and were treated in hospital. Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening,” Unsworth said.

Three ToloTV;Three 1TV and three other media employees  were also wounded in the blast.

A tanker truck bomb was detonated at the entrance of the Green Zone at Zanbaq Square in Kabul city at 8:20am Wednesday killing at least 85 civilians and wounding more than 400 hundreds, Kabul official said

Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC) condemns the bombing and offers its condolences to the families and colleagues of Aziz Nawin and Mohammad Nazir  and calls on the Afghan government to strengthen its efforts to secure media workers’ safety and to put in place all possible means to limit the risks.

AFJC's record shows that the death of ToloTV and BBC workers brought to more than 74 the number of journalists and media workers killed in Afghanistan since falling of the Taliban regime in 2001, eight in 2017 alone.

Afghan women break ground with TV station launch

Presenter Krishma Naz, right, records a music show with a guest on Zan TV on May 23.EPA

May 26, 2017

Kabul: A new TV channel dedicated to women is set to begin broadcasting in Afghanistan, the first of its kind in a country whose media industry, like many areas of society, remains dominated by men.

Zan TV ("Women's TV") launches on Sunday with a staff of all female presenters and producers, following a high-profile marketing campaign on billboards in Kabul and on social media.

Female newsreaders appear regularly on many Afghan channels, but an entire station for women is a novelty. Its arrival highlights the fact that behind the daily stories of violence, change is taking place in Afghanistan, even if it is often slow and patchy.

"I am so happy that this TV station has been created for women because there are women in our society who are not aware of their rights," said 20-year-old Khatira Ahmadi, a producer at the station.

"So this station represents women and we work to raise the voice of women so they can defend their rights," she said.

Women's rights and education as well as media freedom are often cited by the government and foreign aid organizations as among the biggest achievements in the country since the Taliban was toppled in 2001.

Still, Afghanistan is one of the most difficult places in the world for women in the media, and in a poor and war-ravaged country -- with a crowded TV landscape of around 40 stations -- there is no guarantee of success.

Media entrepreneur Hamid Samar, the founder of Zan TV, said he was banking on potentially large female audiences in big cities like Kabul who are hungry for news and discussion that reflect their own experiences.

"There has been a lot of talk about women's rights and media rights," he said. "But we've never seen anything special for women and that's why we've done this."

Zan TV runs on a shoestring using low-cost digital technology and operating out of a basic studio in Kabul, focusing on talk shows along with some programs on health and music.

It relies heavily on a team of mainly young women, many of them students. Youth and enthusiasm make up for what it lacks in experience.

Around 16 male technicians work behind the scenes in areas like graphics, camera operation and editing, as well as teaching female colleagues who have little access to media training.

Some of the female staff like Ahmadi have had to cope with disapproving family members or even brush aside threats in order to pursue their media careers.

But for Ahmadi, among the few staff members with prior television experience, giving a new generation of women a chance to work in media is a major benefit of the station.

"I came to share my experience with colleagues here and I am really happy working along with the other girls," she said. REUTERS

Afghanistan should provide updated information on journalist killings to UNESCO

 

TO:

Ashraf Ghani
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan

CC:

Abdullah Abdullah
Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

H. E. Mr Abdel-Ellah Sediqi, Ambassador
Permanent Delegate of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to UNESCO       

H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

Sayed Aqa Hussain Fazel Sancharaki
Deputy Minister of Information and Culture

Deputy Minister of Information and Culture


16 May 2017

Your Excellency,

IFEX, the global network of 108 organisations working to promote and defend freedom of expression worldwide, including in Afghanistan through our member the Afghanistan Journalists Center, writes to you regarding the UNESCO Director-General’s 2017 request to provide information on the status of judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists that occurred in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2016. We also encourage you to be forthcoming on general measures being taken to promote the safety of journalists and to combat impunity.

The biennial Director-General’s report was commissioned by the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) as a means for States to demonstrate their commitment to addressing crimes against journalists and media workers by providing detailed information on the steps being taken to achieve justice and end impunity.

In the Council’s 30th session, it was resolved that the report would also serve as a monitoring mechanism for tracking progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 on access to information and fundamental rights, which UN member states unanimously adopted. In the same decision, it was noted that the report’s value would be further strengthened through the collection of information on good practices.

We applaud recent moves to form a special committee to investigate individual killings of journalists in the post-Taliban era, as well as the Vice President’s 3 May affirmation of Afghanistan’s commitment to end impunity for these crimes. We also welcome the information that you provided for the 2016 Director-General’s report on this issue.

We encourage you to continue this trend of accountability and submit the relevant updated information to UNESCO, also granting them permission to make it publicly available. We also hope that you will assist UNESCO in the collection of good practices by providing information on general safeguards being implemented for the protection of journalists and to end the problem of impunity in Afghanistan. Being an interim reporting year, your response will be included in both UNESCO's upcoming 2017 World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development report as well as their 2018 report on The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity.

Since 2006, more than 800 killings of journalists and media workers have occurred worldwide. In over 90% of these cases, the perpetrators have gone unpunished. This type of extreme unchecked violence is the ultimate form of censorship and severely curtails the flow of information necessary for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society to flourish.  The culture of impunity that has developed around this issue only makes it more likely that such crimes will continue to occur. For this reason, the issue of impunity for killings of journalists is one of the greatest threats to freedom of expression and information worldwide.

To ensure that your efforts are documented in the relevant reports, we call on your government to demonstrate your leadership and accountability by making your submission to UNESCO before 30 May 2017. In so doing, you will be helping to improve political will to address violence, building a global repertoire of best legal practices, and showing that attacks on freedom of expression in Afghanistan will not be tolerated.

We look forward to your response to this letter and to seeing updated information on the cases mentioned above made public in the relevant reports and on the UNESCO website. For more information visit:

http://www.ifex.org/noimpunity

http://www.unesco.org/dg-report

Sincerely,

 

Annie Game                                                                                                                                        
Executive Director                                                                                                                      
IFEX

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+1 416 515 9622 ext.227

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