In January 2016, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying employees of Tolo TV, Afghanistan’s most popular private broadcaster, killing seven journalists.

The Taliban had said it bombed the bus because it claimed Tolo was producing propaganda for the US military and its allies.

Journalists in Afghanistan have been threatened or attacked not only by the Taliban but also by fighters from Daesh, government officials and powerful local figures unhappy with news coverage.

The press freedom index released by Reporters without Borders (RSF) on April 17 shows that the situation of media in Afghanistan has “worsened” as it has descended to 121 from 118 where it stood last year.

The organization has mentioned insecurity as one of the main reasons for an increase in violence against journalists in Afghanistan.

According to RSF, three journalists have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

Many others were constantly threatened by the various parties to the conflict. The war imposed by the Taliban and ISIS and constant abuses by warlords and corrupt political officials constitutes a permanent threat to journalists, the media and press freedom in Afghanistan.

According to RSF, Women journalists are a favorite target and are especially vulnerable in those regions where fundamentalist propaganda is heeded.

The concern is growing that basic freedoms, including press freedom, could be sacrificed in the course of the international efforts to restore peace in Afghanistan, the RSF says, adding that in response to this threat, the RSF-backed Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists has launched several campaigns for the protection of the rights of women journalists as a precondition for peace.

The experience of the past 17 years confirms that peace and security are what the Afghan people want most, but they cannot be achieved and guaranteed without free and independent media and without guarantees for journalists’ safety, RSF said in its report.

 

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