By: Shah Wali Kaihan
Afghanistan:For the last four decades, Afghanistan is muscle flexing with security-related, economic, social and political predicament.
Thousands of people have been killed, injured or maimed. Children have grown illiterate, eye-blind and poor. But a promising achievement of the years of sacrifice have been the freedom of expression, democracy and a ‘country of the people for the people’.
Although the country is practicing a wide depth of freedom to media, there are still concerns over the future of press as the last attacks have shuttered some mounting anxiety in Kabul.
Merely in the last two months, three journalists were allegedly targeted in Kabul, Kandahar and eastern province of Nangarhar.
Malalai Miawand, who was a bold anchor and TV presenter with Enikass TV and Radio Station in Nangarhar, was the last victim. She lost her life after unknown gunmen opened fire at her vehicle carrying her to her office.
She had been a true voice of women’s rights and was an active social activist demanding a cessation of target killing in the eastern Jalalabad city. Malalai was also questioning authorities over failure in averting attacks in metropolitan cities. The slain journalist was assassinated on Thursday, December 10. Her murder was widely condemned. The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expressed in a communique that “our media and journalists brief people about the country, region and the world in such a difficult time. Hence, this act of heinousness is a distinct violence of human rights and is therefore an unforgiving crime”.
In separate statements, the chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, German embassy, the United States and Human Rights Commission based in Kabul condemned the attack calling it a barbarous act.
There are increasing worries, primarily for women journalists as they have long been considered unfit for journalism in Afghanistan on account of religious restrictions. “Since 2014 more than 1,000 female journalists have left the industry,” said, NIA, National Investigation Agency, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan.
In response, AIC, Access to Information Commission, has said that “we would do everything possible to make sure our journalists are safe.”
But fears cloud watchdog journalism in Afghanistan. Weeks earlier, a reporter of Azadi Radio in Kandahar, Mohammad Aliyas Dayee, was slayed by a planted magnetic bomb under his car preceded the bombing of a former TOLONews correspondent, Yama Siawash, in the capital city Kabul. After the murder of journalists, Afghanistan became the first country where journalists are at high ‘risk’.
“After the last attack in Nangarhar, Afghanistan secures the position of being the deadliest country in the world for journalists,” According to Afghan Journalists Safety Committee.
It too called on warring parties to ensure the safety of journalists.
Peace negotiation with the Taliban seems to be a pleasing news for media outlets as it is not only the matter of a peaceful Afghanistan, but also a matter of their life and death.