• publish: 3 May 2021
  • time: 3:22 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 17691
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RSF sounds alarm on World Press Freedom Day

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ) on Monday sounded the alarm about the plight of the media and the future for journalism in Afghanistan.

In a statement issued by the RSF, the organizations said: “The press freedom situation is disastrous in Afghanistan 14 months after the Taliban and United States signed a peace accord on 29 February 2020, and eight months after the Taliban and Afghan government began peace talks.”

At least 20 journalists and media workers have been the victims of targeted attacks in the past six months and eight, including four women, have been killed. Around 30 others have received death threats in connection with their journalistic work, RSF stated.

“The climate of terror keeps on growing and particularly affects women journalists, whose situation was already precarious.

“The precarity of Afghan women journalists has increased not only as a result of the physical dangers but also as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown,” CPAWJ director Farida Nekzad said.

“At least 20% of them have lost their jobs or have been forced to take unpaid leave by their employers.”

UNAMA also called for the campaign of violence against journalists and media workers in the country to end.

“Journalists must be protected, and those who commit acts of violence and murder against workers in the sector must be brought to justice,” UNAMA said in a statement.

“We recognise that female journalists and media professionals are particularly at risk. The impunity for such crimes remains a serious challenge and creates a chilling environment, limiting the media sector’s ability to operate freely.

“Afghanistan’s free and independent media sector has been hard won. Many Afghans have sacrificed their time, their energy, their money and, for some, their lives to build this crucial public good. We pledge our continued support in defence of a free and independent Afghan media. It must be defended,” the statement read.

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah also acknowledged the importance of the day and tweeted: “While I am celebrating the remarkable achievements of Afghanistan’s media and our courageous journalists, I also recognize and remember their sacrifices in defending and shaping a vibrant free press.

“As always I am committed to a free press and access to information,” he said.

The wider international community in Afghanistan also issued a statement on reaffirming commitment to supporting Afghan journalists and the media sector.

“The UK remains committed to supporting Afghanistan. A free and independent media and a strong media sector is an essential part of an inclusive and representative Afghanistan. As we transition to a new chapter of international support for Afghanistan, as Afghanistan’s international friends and partners, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by its journalists and the media sector”

“As Afghanistan’s international friends and partners, we reaffirm our commitment to stand by its journalists and the media sector.

“We continue to support Afghan journalists, to stand up for their rights, and to oppose undue restrictions on their work,” the statement read.

The international community also condemned the campaign of violence against journalists and media professionals and said this “must end”.

“Journalists must be protected, and those who commit acts of violence and murder against workers in the sector must be brought to justice.

We recognise that female journalists and media professionals are particularly at risk. The impunity for such crimes remains a serious challenge and creates a chilling environment, limiting the media sector’s ability to operate freely,” read the statement.

“Afghanistan’s free and independent media sector has been hard won. Many Afghans have sacrificed their time, their energy, their money and, for some, their lives to build this crucial public good. We pledge our continued support in defence of a free and independent Afghan media. It must be defended.”

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