With the elections less than a week away, the Reporters Sans Frontiers has come up with a request to provide greater protection to journalists. This was perhaps pointed out in light of recent violence inflicted on media this year.
13 journalists and two media workers were killed since the start of January in Afghanistan, making 2018 the deadliest year for media since Taliban fall in 2001. There have been attacks and threats cast on the journalists, the media and press freedom in general by insurgents like Taliban and IS-K.
Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Afghanistan-Iran desk said in a statement “The increase in targeted attacks on the media and the deterioration in the security situation for women journalists in the run-up to the elections threaten the Afghan people’s sovereignty and democratic choice,” and she also added that “There can be no democratic elections without the freedom to inform. This is why RSF calls on the Afghan government to renew its commitment and involvement in protecting journalists. The continuation of the government’s efforts with regard to security and training is essential.”
RSF visited Afghanistan in mid September for roughly 10 days to organize training for several journalists (including 32 women) who came from 13 different provinces and represented 53 independent Afghan media houses.
RSF’s partner organization in Afghanistan is the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), which called on RSF to organise special training for the women reporters.
Taking into considering all the pre-election instability or attempts at it, and the killings and attacks on not just journalists but many candidates, rallies and normal citizens of Afghanistan, it becomes imperative for the people to have a safe living.
UNAMA has also raised concerns over civilian casualties this entire year due to conflict or attacks. Moreover, Afghanistan’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index also stood at 118 out of 180 countries.
With these figures and incidents in the picture, it only seems justified for an organisation like the RSF to ensure that journalists who are the key people behind dissemination of the right information are safe from violence.