The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in welcoming the issuance of a decree on impunity of media workers and facilitation of the media activities on January 31. The IFJ calls on the Afghanistan government to ensure the decree improves the security situation of journalists and ensure media freedom.
On January 31, Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, issue a decree which orders the police and security services to improve their behaviour towards journalists, to respect the media law, and to reopen investigations into murders of journalists that have taken place in recent years.
The decree guarantees the role of the Media Commission, formed under the new media law, which is primarily responsible for the initial review of cases of violations by the media. The Commission will receive and verify complaints against media outlets prior to any prosecution ending the arbitrary questioning and arrest of media personal by prosecuting and security agencies. President Ghani also ordered for a report addressing all cases of journalist murders in the past 15 years as soon as possible.
The decree comes after a deadly month in Afghanistan with the murders of eight journalists. A suicide bomber attacked a vehicle of Tolo TV staff killing seven media staff in Kabul on January 20, which Haji Mohammad Khaksar was killed in Nangarhar on January 29.
AIJA president, Rahimulah Samandar said: “We welcome President’s new decree and some articles of this issue can be very helpful for us. The decree, if implemented, will be helpful in resolving the challenges faced by journalists.”
The IFJ said: “We welcome the steps by the Afghan government to improve the safety situation facing journalists and media workers. We urge the government to continue its work, and stand with AIJA and the entire media community as they work to overcome the dangerous environment.”