World Press Freedom Day 2021: Journalists, media workers targeted doubled in Afghanistan in assassination campaign

  May 3, 2021

KABUL:  Today, on World Press Freedom Day, Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC) said that at least 11 journalists, media were killed in targeted attacks in Afghanistan over the last 12 months, more than double the previous period’s figure of five. 

Though the Afghan media has developed significantly since 2001, the situation for journalists and the media in the country has never been so complicated, frightening, and ambiguous.

Today, and after 28 years of declaring the third of May as world press freedom day, press freedom is still the target of escalating grave breaches across the world and in Afghanistan in particular.

The journalists and media workers in Afghanistan, are still paying high prices for their hard work and efforts in covering events through words and images, where the Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC), monitored a total of 111 violations including 11 targeted killings. Also, 100 more press violations including injury, threat, physical and verbal harassment, detention, insult and humiliation, and abduction were documented since the last World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2020.

According to the AFJC’s data, seven out of the 11 fatal cases of journalists and media workers have been claimed by Daesh(IS-K), Taliban accused in three, and one by unknown individuals.

Foremost among the press violations, are threats, which amounted to 46 cases, followed by 16 injury incidents, 12 physical harassments, 10 cases of insult and misbehavior, eight-armed attacks, five cases of arrests, three abductions, of which %46 committed by the government (including local authorities, police, security forces), %24 by unknown individuals, %19 by Taliban, %7 by Daesh(IS-K) and %4 by warlords.

“Today, at the World Press Freedom Day, we remember at least 121 journalists and media workers who have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001,” said AFJC executive director Ahmad Quraishi, “We salute the bravery of those who continue to risk their lives to bring us the news and demand justice for those killed and acknowledging journalism is not crime today and in the event that the peace deal results in a new political settlement.”

“Increasing targeted killings of journalists and media workers demonstrate clear violation to their rights to a safe and secure working environment and create an environment of fear and self-censorship around the country,” he added

Concerned about the safety of journalists in March 2021, the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) along with 40 other civil society organizations from around the globe, sent a letter to the UNSC and UNAMA urging them to stand in solidarity with the Afghan journalists and help ensure their safety and media freedom, given the role they play in a peaceful and democratic transition during and after the ongoing peace negotiations.