Afghanistan media professionals, who continue to work against immense challenges, are to be commended for their courage and determination, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) Secretary General Tadamichi Yamamoto said on Tuesday.
“The many victories of media in Afghanistan have been hard won,” said the UN envoy, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “In the world rankings of press openness and freedom, Afghanistan, a nation embroiled in conflict, has managed to hold its place in world press freedom rankings even as fighting takes a heavy toll on journalists.”
Yamamoto said Afghanistan’s media professionals, women and men, are to be commended and celebrated for their courage and determination. “Be assured that the UN and international community are immensely grateful for your work,” he said at an event in Kabul to mark World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday.
In other part of his speech, the UN envoy described the past solar year as one of the worst violent years for journalists and media staff in Afghanistan over the last two decades. He said: “In this period there were 400 cases of violence against the media.”
Following the matter, Afghanistan’s Journalists National Union, Chief Executive Fahim Dashti said the government has set a joint committee for safety of journalists but it has not taken any practical step.
Based on estimation of Afghanistan Journalists Association, in 2016, 128 cases of violence, 14 cases of murder, 8 detention cases, 18 cases of beating and 11 cases of government censorship have been recorded.
“Over the past 15 years government has not taken this issue seriously. From 60 journalists’ murder cases only two of them have been addressed,” Dashti said.
However, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said: “We support you, you work in accordance to the Constitution of Afghanistan, and media has the power which cannot be kept silent in a word.”
“A team has been tasked to address all violence cases through the departments of all provinces,” Abdullah added.
This comes as the Attorney General Office (AGO) has registered 679 cases of murder and violence against journalists since 2001.