The number of journalists killed in Afghanistan has increased sharply in the past four years - under the National Unity Government (NUG) - media supporting groups said on Thursday.
This comes as TOLOnews mourns the death of two journalists who were killed on Wednesday night in an explosion in Kabul while covering an earlier bombing.
According to media organizations, the number of journalists killed during President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah’s terms of office so far equals the number killed in the 12 years under the previous government.
Media organizations said the NUG has straight out failed to protect journalists.
Former chief of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) Amarullah Saleh said that after every incident, the NUG government formed a committee, but that these committees did nothing to help protect the media sector.
“We need a new solution. Creating committees and commissions is not the solution. The solution is not to get angry at security officials on a television screen. The solution is to empower the people,” said Saleh.
Media supporting organizations have said that after the formation of the NUG, no measures were taken by government to ensure the safety and security of journalists and that government officials only relied on verbal condemnations, without taking practical steps.
About 40 journalists were killed during the previous government’s twelve year rule – but the same number of journalists have been killed under the NUG in just four years.
“Casualties among journalists during the incumbent government is equal to the total deaths of journalists during the twelve year rule of the previous government. It means that the situation for journalists has become extremely bad,” said Mujib Khelwatgar, chairman NAI -- Organization supporting open media in Afghanistan.
Critics say that government needs to start acting to protect members of the public and journalists.
Since the start of this year, at least 13 journalists plus other media workers have died in Afghanistan.
On Thursday however, angry journalists voiced their concerns and stated government does nothing to probe cases of violence or killings of journalists.
“They only talk about committees which is only lip service, they take no practical steps,” said Afghan journalist Hafizullah Salangi.
“This is not the first time that our colleagues become the victims; they (government) form committees after every incident; but for instance, what came out of the commission which was formed under the leadership of the second vice president?” said Baess Hayat, a journalist.
In a recent report – for the first six months of this year – Reporters Without Borders stated that Afghanistan was the deadliest country in the world for journalists.