A report indicates that four anchors, three reporters and a cameraman have lost their lives in terrorist incidents in different parts of the country in 2020. This number was similar to 2019 but the level of threats to journalists and media workers has been unprecedentedly high in recent months and continues unabated.
The Afghanistan Journalists Center, in a report published Saturday, says in 2020 Daesh was responsible for killing two anchors, the Taliban was responsible for killing one reporter and a cameraman, and unknown armed men were responsible for killing two anchors.
According to the report, the perpetrators of some of the attacks have not been identified so far.
The report says that 112 incidents of violence against journalists happened in 2020 in the country. The report adds that 19 journalists and media workers were wounded last year.
Moreover, two more incidents, including the attack on former TOLOnews anchor Yama Siawash and the death of Ariana News anchor Fardin Amini in a mysterious incident, happened this past November.
Those who lost their lives in 2020 are:
Safar Mohammad Atal, an anchor of Samson Radio in Helmand;
Ahmad Khan Nawid, an anchor of Ghor Radio in Feroz oh city;
Mir Wahid Shah Amiri, Khorshid TV reporter in Kabul;
Shafiq Zabih, a cameraman at Khorshid TV;
Elyas Daee, a Radio Azadi reporter in Helmand;
Malala Maiwand, Eekas TV anchor in Nangarhar;
Rahmatullah Nekzad, a freelance reporter in Ghazni; and Tahir Khan, a driver at Enekas TV in Nangarhar.
On the first day of 2021, a reporter, Bismillah Adil Aimaq, was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Ghor. He was head of a local radio station in the province.
“One of the key things that can be done in this respect is a thorough investigation of these incidents because it will be difficult to prevent such attacks if impunity culture takes hold,” said Saeeda Muzhgan Mustafawi, the deputy minister for information and culture for publication.
The Taliban has denied its involvement in attacks on journalists and media workers.
“The government, in collaboration with the international community, should implement a strategy for addressing the growing concerns of the media community in Afghanistan,” Ahmad Quraishi, CEO of Afghanistan Journalists Center.
Targeted killings against journalists was widely criticized by civil society activists and the media community, who said there is a need to boost their security.
Ghor journalists boycotted government news for three days in reaction to the killing of Aimaq.
“We lost one of our best colleagues, Mr. Bismillah Adil Aimaq. It is a big loss for the media and the journalists’ community,” said Asif Nayab, a reporter in Ghor.
Senators on Sunday also expressed their concerns over the increase in targeted attacks against journalists and said their perpetrators should be recognized and punished.
“A bill should be prepared for the protection of journalists,” Senate Speaker Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said. “The National Security Council, the National Directorate of Security and the Ministry of Interior Affairs should work on it so that their (journalists) become safe and can conduct their duty--exercising the freedom of speech--with calm.”