Two video journalists beaten up by Presidential candidate's observers

Two video journalists beaten up by Presidential candidate's observers

August 10, 2014

Kabul: Presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai’s observers beat two cameramen of Khurshid and Rahe Farda television channels during the vote audit at the Independent Election Commission (IEC) head office in Kabul on Sunday

A member of Ghani-Ahmadzai’s camp said to the Tolo News, that the Rahe Farda cameraman crossed the designated line made for the media to stay behind and record.

“This cameraman for Rahe Farda television was not respecting the rules laid out,” said Abdul Rahman Kharooti. “He crossed the line and a number of female observers were harassed.”

But, Rahman Mirzad, the accused cameraman for Rahe Farda, has rejected the claims. He says that he went “to record the disagreements between both electoral teams over a result sheet,” adding that his intentions were nothing, but to film the process.

During the brawl, another cameraman working for Khurshid television, Fawad Noori, was attacked for wanting to record the fight.

“I had not done anything, but want to record the scene,” he explained.”I was not at fault.”

After the incident, the observers forced all the journalists to go outside.

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesman Noor Mohammad Noor said, “no one has the right to stop the media from doing their work in the commission.”

Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s team said the media plays a key role in returning transparency to the process.

“If the media was not present, no one would know what is taking place at the commission during the audit,” Zahir Aghbar, member of Abdullah’s camp, said. “The media is presenting facts.”

According to the Afghan Mass Media law, article 4, Government shall support, strengthen, and guarantee the freedom of mass media. Except as authorized under this law, no real or legal person including government and government offices may ban, prohibit, censor or limit the informational activities of mass media or otherwise interfere in their affairs.

Afghanistan Journalists Center condemns the actions taken on the cameramen and call on the government to investigate the case and holding the violators accountable for their acts.

We also encourage the both presidential camps to ensure the freedom of media activities by supporting reporters' rights to access the information.