July 25, 2017
ISLAMABAD — Ten journalists have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year in militant attacks plotted by the Taliban and Islamic State loyalists, a media monitoring group said.
Violence during the first six months of 2017 also wounded 12 journalists, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) said in a report released Tuesday in Kabul.
The group’s head, Najib Sharifi, told reporters it documented 73 cases of violence against journalists, a 35 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2016.
The violence included killing, beating, injury, humiliation, intimidation and detention of journalists, he added.
“Those killed have either been directly targeted by terrorist groups or lost their lives as a result of terrorist attacks,” noted Sharifi.
The media organization says that IS-plotted violence and threats against journalists have particularly increased in eastern Afghanistan, where the terrorist group has a strong presence.
“In this zone, the majority of media organizations and journalists practically live under the threat of the ISKP group,” AJSC warned, using the local acronym for the Syria-based terrorist group.
An attack on state-run Radio Television-Afghanistan, or RTA, in May killed four employees, while a massive truck bombing in the vicinity of the German embassy in Kabul also that month claimed the lives of four journalists in the line of duty, according to the report. One-hundred-and-50 other people were killed.
A March attack against the parliament in the capital city killed two journalists.
AJSC noted, however, individuals affiliated with the Afghan government, or security forces, have also been responsible for 46 percent of all the instances of violence against journalists since the beginning of the year.
“The violence carried out by the government officials is mostly committed because of revelations by journalists of illegal activities of these government-affiliated individuals and institutions,” the report said.
It praised steps the Afghan government has taken to improve the security of journalists, including establishment of a Joint Committee for the Security and Safety of Journalists, but lamented that “weak implementation” has not produced desired outcomes.
The report also noted rising insecurity and a “worsening threat environment” in Afghanistan have also led to a “notable decrease” in the number of female journalists working in media organizations, with none working in at least 10 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
The reduction or absence of female media members, AJSC warned, has undermined coverage of women-related problems.
The increase in violence in Afghanistan is evident in a recent United Nations report that says armed conflict has killed more than 1,600 civilians in the first six months of 2017.