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Afghanistan Deemed Most Insecure Place for Female Journalists

(Last Updated On: November 14, 2016)

tamana-ayaziReporters Without Borders- Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) has called Afghanistan the most insecure place for female journalists; Urging the Afghan government to provide better and secure conditions for journalists in the country.

“Violence against journalists must be ended. The first priority should be securing the environment for journalists,” said Reza Moeni, representative of RSF from Iran.

Farida Nikzad, representative of women journalists in South Asia said, “The problems facing journalists in the current geography have made Afghanistan the most dangerous country for female journalists.”

The issue of journalists security and tracking cases are the main factors that the government wants to have more focus on them.

“Currently, the war is ongoing in more than 15 parts of the country, and Afghan journalists are in a bad and difficult situation,” said Shah Hussain Murtazawi, President’s deputy spokesman.

Sidiq Sidiqi, spokesman of the interior ministry also said, “The issue of journalists security and tracking violence cases against journalists will be the priority of this ministry from now on.”

While Afghan journalists have made great strides in establishing media outlets and providing Afghans with comprehensive coverage of local and national events in recent years, there are still many challenges being faced by local and foreign journalists alike, namely, harassment, threats and lack of support from government authorities, reported by CJEF .

According to a female journalist who heads a radio station in Balkh province, being a female journalist is particularly challenging. They face sexual harassment and threats from officials, strangers and sometimes even family members.

Cultural constraints on women in Afghanistan often restrict them to work inside the office, instead of venturing out to do field work. In many places in Afghanistan, the idea of women undertaking public roles and working is considered taboo.

Additionally, there is pressure on women working in the media from family elders to quit their jobs in order to avoid wider repercussions for the entire family, or because they view the career as unseemly. Lack of training and resources for women in the media is also a serious issue.

In September 2014, Palwasha Tokhi Meranzai, a female Afghan journalist, was killed inside her home by an unknown assailant.

She had received a death threat relating to her reporting about a month before her murder; despite evidence that the motive was tied to her profession, Afghan security services persist in treating it as a robbery.

Since early 2013, press freedom organizations have noted a decrease in the number of women currently working as journalists in Afghanistan due to the culture of fear created by religious militants such as the Taliban and related organizations.

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