Journalists announce week-long boycott of Balkh police coverage

Journalists announce week-long boycott of Balkh police coverage

August 16, 2015

Mazar-e-Sharif:  Journalists on Saturday announced a week-long boycott of covering police activities in northern Balkh province after accusing the force of mistreating them.

Members of the newly-formed Journalists Protection Committee told a press conference in Mazar-i-Sharif, the provincial capital, that the police headquarters had been mistreating reporters.

The committee representing various journalist bodies was formed on Thursday; a day after unknown gunmen attacked an Afghan reporter with Deutsche Welle, a German international broadcaster, Abdul Hamid Sapi, who also works at Azro Television.

The reporter was travelling home from his television office in his car when came under attack on the road between Kod Barq and Mazar-i-Sharif in the limits of Dehdad district on Wednesday night. Sapi was unhurt, but his car was damaged.

The committee on Saturday announced it would hold meetings with provincial government and security officials on threats being faced by the community.

To a question from this scribe, head of the panel, Noor Agha Sharifi, said they had gone to the police headquarters on Saturday noon to inquire about progress in cases of violence against journalists, but the police chief did not meet them.

He said police chief Syed Kamal Sadat’s secretary kept them waiting for one and a half hours and then told them to wait further or leave was their choice.

He said they wanted to meet the police chief about progress in investigation of incidents of violence against journalists, including the gun attack on Sapi.

Sharifi said the police chief had insulted them by refusing to meet them and that was why they would boycott covering the police force’s activities for a week.

A member of the committee and president of Journalists Union of the North, Gulab Shah Bawar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that security organs had never respected journalists’ views about their problems.

He said three journalists had been attacked over the past few months, but none of the incident had so far been investigated.  Bawar said as a larger union of journalists, they were announcing a week-long boycott of all activities of the police department.

But Balkh police spokesman Sher Jan Durrani said that no one had contacted him as police spokesman. He addedthe journalists had directely entered the police chief’s office at a time when he was not present.

About investigation into attacks on journalist, Durrani said no reporter had formally lodged complaint with them. He said journalist should lodge their complaints at the police department like ordinary citizens. Pajhwok