Impunity for crimes against journalists remains high in Afghanistan: AFJC

2 November 2020

Kabul- Impunity for crimes against journalists has continued to remain high, as the Afghan government is failing to bring perpetrators to justice, in 8 cases out of 10, the killers go free, the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC), said on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Canter(AFJC), 113 journalists and media workers killed in Afghanistan in the last 19 years, four of which occurred in the first half of 2020. Most of these cases will see little justice: of the 115 killings recorded between 2001 and 2020, about 18% of the cases have been processed and concluded at primary or appeal courts and only  six cases have had a final verdict issued

The Attorney General’s Office says it has investigated and concluded 30 cases of murder of journalists and arrested tens of suspects in connection to such incidents, which some of them have been sentenced to 30-year jail and even the death penalty.

 “Impunity for crimes against journalists and media workers means a failure by the Afghan government to bring perpetrators to justice, it gives a license for more violence in Afghanistan,” said AFJC executive director Ahmad Quraishi

“The perpetrators of crimes against journalists should not believe they are above the law. A culture of impunity must be challenged,” Quraishi added

Afghanistan Journalists Center calls on the Afghan government to pay due attention to ensure the safety and security of journalists and media personnel and to seriously follow up on the cases of violence against journalists, especially those cases that resulted in deaths of journalists and media personnel in the past 19 years. AFJC demands that the Afghan government in close coordination with the Joint Committee of Government and the Media seriously follow up cases of violence against journalists and present a workable timetable for further actions, which should include the following, but not limited to it:

  • As most cases of crimes against journalists and media workers have been attributed to terrorists and illegal armed groups and many such cases remain un-investigated, the perpetrators must be brought to justice. If perpetrators are no longer alive, their associated groups or organizers must be identified and brought to justice.
  • Legal actions (with no exception) must be taken against any government officials, security personnel, and warlords who are accused of committing violence and threats against journalists.
  • An online database must be established under the supervision of the Joint Committee of the Government and Media to follow up legal proceedings related to cases of violence and threats against journalists. The database should provide regular and up-to-date information on the status of each case of violence and threat against journalists.
  • The President and other government leaders must clearly declare their long-lasting commitment and support to media and journalists in Afghanistan and provide strong assurances that the violators of the law and perpetrators of crimes against journalists will be prosecuted in accordance with the rule of law.