Media Institutions: Culture of Impunity Must Come to an End

8 Subh, Kabul: Nai Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan (Nai) has called for an end to the culture of impunity in the country on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Criminal Offenses against Journalists.

In a newsletter dated Monday, November 2, the agency reported that about 1,500 cases have been registered with the agency over the past 19 years, but a large part of them have still not been investigated.

According to officials, only 60 of these cases have been processed so far, and another 50 are under judicial procedure.

However, Nai reported that other cases have been removed from the judicial prosecution on the basis of the principle of “lapse of time”, or have not been reviewed due to lack of action or investigation.

Officials at the agency said the Taliban had committed 800 acts of violence against journalists, including killings of 60 journalists, but that the cases had not been investigated at all.

According to Nai, the priority should be to bring justice to those in the government who have committed these atrocities.

It also says that the perpetrators of violence among the Taliban should not be dealt with during peace talks.

Nai called on the government to explain the possible presence of perpetrators of violence against journalists among the 5,000 Taliban prisoners released, and to bring the perpetrators classified as “unknown armed men” to justice after identification.

The Afghan Journalists’ Center also said in a statement that 113 journalists had been killed in the country and two Afghan journalists had been killed in Pakistan in the last 19 years.

In addition to acknowledging the institutions responsible, it reported that impunity for crimes against journalists is still high.

The center called on the government to identify the organizers of crimes against journalists and to ensure justice.

According to officials at the agency, officials, government employees, government forces and powerful individuals accused of violence or threats against journalists should be prosecuted without exception.

The Afghan Journalists’ Center has called on the government to set up a special online registration and information center to monitor the implementation of the law in cases of violence against journalists and to provide information about cases.

In addition, the AIHRC said that the culture of impunity was still a challenge to the freedom of the media.

On Monday, November 2, the commission called on the government to seriously investigate cases of journalist victims and punish the perpetrators. Officials at the institution also urged the government to provide a decent working environment for journalists and the media.

Ross Wilson, Charge D’affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul, called the country’s press “a model in the region” and regretted the targeting of journalists. In a series of tweets, he said that media outlets were taking risks so that people could be aware of events, and to hold leaders accountable. He stressed that the media was vital to the future of the country and should be preserved as an achievement.

According to the United Nations, at least nine out of ten crimes against journalists have not been identified.

Earlier, officials said that 115 cases of murder of journalists in the country have been investigated this year.