Afghan journalists mark World Press Freedom day with protests

Kabul: Afghan journalists on Thursday boycotted an official ceremony to mark World Press Freedom day and accused the government of not doing enough to ensure the safety and security of media workers in the country.

They demonstrated with placards that read “Stop deceiving — Journalists are not something to play with”, Efe news reported.

On Monday, three attacks in Afghanistan killed over 40 people, including 10 journalists, in one of the deadliest strikes on the country’s media since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Afghan journalists said there were not enough measures taken by the government to ensure their safety in a country that in 2017 was ranked as the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Amnesty International also released a statement to mark the day and remember the slain journalists.

“Afghanistan’s journalists are among the bravest in the world. Working in some of the most difficult conditions, they have faced threats, intimidation and violence for simply doing their jobs,” said Omar Waraich, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South Asia.

Nine of the journalists were killed as they rushed to the site of the first blast in Kabul, when a second suicide bomber, posing as a cameraman, detonated his explosives.

“The second attacker deliberately sought out journalists to kill after the first bomber had drawn them to the scene. Mere moments after killing one group of civilians they targeted another, committing multiple war crimes on the same spot,” Waraich said.

Another was killed in a separate incident.

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee, at least 80 media workers lost their lives while working in the country since 2001.