Violence, Threats Against Journalists in Afghanistan Increased 26 Percent in 2020: AJSC

Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) in its annual report said that the violence and threats against journalists in Afghanistan increased by 26 percent in the year 2020.

The report which was released on Thursday stated that the media and civil society groups remain concerned that the delegation representing the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) in negotiations with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar lacks a coherent strategy to preserve key constitutional rights including freedom of speech and a free and independent media.

“In 2020, AJSC recorded threats and violence against 132 journalists and media workers, which includes killing of journalists, injuring them, physical assault, kidnapping, various forms of threats, theft, verbal, legal and administrative abuse. 2020 data shows 26% increase in violence and threats compared to 2019 in which AJSC recorded violence and threats against 105 journalists and media workers,” the report said.

According to the report, “7 journalists and media workers were murdered—5 as a result of targeted killing and 2 as a result of improvised explosives. 18 journalists and media workers were injured whilst reporting and on duty. 10 journalists were physically assaulted, 47 threatened, 28 verbally abused and 13 journalists and media workers faced legal and administrative abuse by media managers. 7 journalists were kidnapped and 2 experienced theft while gathering content from the field. Based on the data collected by AJSC, Taliban and Daesh account for majority of violence and threats against journalists. Government officials come second.”

AJSC cited that The Taliban’s ideological opposition to these values enhances concerns about the future of such freedoms.

“Further, the government’s efforts in early 2020 to draft a new Media Law, which could extensively limit press freedom if enacted, and the lack of meaningful commitment to investigate the cases of murdered journalists have fueled these concerns,” the report added.

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