The year 2016 is considered the bloodiest year for journalists and media in the history of Afghanistan. In this year, 13 journalists were killed, a figure that is unprecedented in the history of journalism in Afghanistan. In spite of the fact that the threats are posed by a variety of groups including government officials, a shift in the conduct of Taliban vis-à-vis journalists and media is the main driver of the increase in the level of threats and deadly violence against journalists.
The Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) has provided emergency assistance to more than 80 journalists across Kunduz, Helmand and Farah provinces in the past weeks. AJSC is committed to supporting media workers across the country, and will continue to provide resources and support to journalists in its goal of promoting freedom of expression and journalist safety in Afghanistan.
2016 has been the bloodiest year for journalists in the history of Afghanistan. Only in the first six months, ten journalists were murdered. In this reporting period, AJSC recorded a total of 54 incidents, which include murder, physical assault, detention, and intimidation. This figure shows a 38 percent increase from the first six months of 2015, in which 39 cases were recorded.
Although there were fewer incidents of violence and threats against journalists in 2015 compared to 2014, because of a number of events that have had direct or indirect impact on the modus operandi of the media community and journalists, 2015 has been an important year for future of journalism and freedom of expression in Afghanistan.
Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) recorded 39 cases of threat and violence against journalists during the first half of 2015, reflecting a decline by 43% compared to the first six months of 2014 during which 63 cases were recorded. One journalist was killed and another 4 wounded in this reporting period. Similarly, 19 journalists were beaten, 2 arrested and another 13 faced threats of varying natures.
2014 was a highly challenging year for Afghan journalists. During this year the escalation of violence against journalists was unprecedented. Moreover, many media organizations faced financial difficulties resulting from political instability, intensified insecurity and declining international aid.
2014 is considered one of the vital years for Afghanistan and the future of freedom of speech in the country. This year will mark the first peaceful transition of political power from one elected President to another, in which media is playing a key role. Meanwhile, the attitude and approach of the upcoming administration towards journalism and freedom of speech will determine the future of freedom of speech in this country.