Journalists Face Intimidation in Afghanistan: HRW

KABUL: (Middle East Press) According to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Afghan journalists face loads of violence and bullying from all sides, including Taliban militants and government forces.
In a report titled “Stop Reporting or We’ll Kill Your Family” released on Wednesday, the New York-based international non-governmental organization noted that the perpetrators of violence against journalists are infrequently punished.
“Afghan journalists face threats from all sides: government officials misusing weak legal protections to threaten reporters and editors to force them not to cover contentious topics; the Taliban and other militant groups using threats and violence to force reporting they consider favorable; and police and justice officials letting threats, assaults and even murders go uninvestigated and unprosecuted,” the report stated.
The HRW further added that female Afghan journalists are especially at risk.
“Along with the threats, pressure and violence faced by all journalists, female reporters are obstructed by social and cultural restrictions,” it said.
The watchdog noted, “The mere act of appearing on television can be particularly controversial for a woman in Afghanistan.”
Eight journalists, including two foreign reporters, were killed in Afghanistan in 2014, making it the deadliest year for members of the press.
One local journalist has been killed this year. Aqil Mohammad Weqar, a radio reporter in the eastern province of Nangarhar, was killed on January 16, when a group of gunmen stormed the wedding party he was attending and started shelling.


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