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Threats to Afghan Journalists Rise in 2013

Threats to Afghan Journalists Rise in 2013

KABUL -: South Asia has not been a safe place for journalists in the year 2013 when violence against journalists continued to remain a major threat to media freedom, the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) said in its report released on Monday. During the year, 22 journalists were killed, including three in Afghanistan, despite the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists and several international resolutions on their protection, the report said.

Pakistan again was the country with the largest number of journalists (10) killed in connection with their work, followed by India with 8, Afghanistan 3 and Bangladesh 1. Except for a couple of killings having been taken up in the courts in Nepal, the culture of impunity — the perpetrators of killings not being investigated or brought to justice — seemed to have taken root.

Cases have been marred by delays, the deaths of witnesses, and threats to the plaintiffs in a bid to have them drop charges. Unpunished crimes are jeering at major democracies of the region and depriving their people of the right to information and so, fear is deeply entrenching in families of those killed and in societies. The report said threats and violence forced a growing number of journalists to flee their homes or country.

A major section of media in South Asia, more so in India than in Pakistan, remained indulged in conflict insensitive journalism and in doing so, putting pressure on the governments to go for war rather than peace. Other factors having a bearing on media freedom and quality journalism in the region were intolerance for diverse points of views as edicts and threats were hurled at the media.

In some of the smaller South Asian countries financial viability has always been a challenge. But even in the large countries, there have been huge layoffs unsettling the optimism of the last decade of rapid growth in the media and causing livelihood anxieties for journalists. (ToloNews)

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