Attack on journalists blow to freedom of expression in Afghanistan: UN

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United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan Richard Bennett said the attack on journalists in Afghanistan’s Mazar-e-Sharif province is a blow to the freedom of expression, Khaama Press reported.
Bennett said he is closely monitoring the attack on the gathering aimed at awarding journalists at Tebyan Cultural Center in northern Mazar-e-Sharif province. The UN Special Rapporteur emphasized the need for increased security measures for journalists in Afghanistan.
According to Tebyan Cultural Center, “Three people were killed and 30 others, including a significant number of journalists, were injured in this incident.”
At least 15 journalists have been injured in this incident, and the situation is getting tougher for journalists and media workers in Afghanistan, according to a journalists’ advocacy organization.
The attack took place in a gathering in Mazar-e-Sharif aimed at honouring journalists for the tireless efforts they are putting in to update the world on the challenges and developments in the context of Afghanistan, according to Khaama Press.
This was the second terror incident in Mazar-e-Sharif over the past three days. The first one was a suicide attack that killed the governor of Balkh, Mullah Muhammad Dawood Muzamil and the second explosion targeted journalists’ gatherings.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack and investigations are underway to find the motives behind the incident.
Since the Taliban’s return to power in 2021, the group has imposed some tough restrictions on media and journalists. According to the decrees, no private or public media outlet or news channel is allowed to criticize Taliban members or speak against Afghanistan’s de facto regime.
Recently, female journalists in Afghanistan’s Farah province strongly appealed for the resumption of media activities that have been halted since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan after the US Forces’ retreat in August last year, Tolo News reported.
Female journalists urged the Taliban officials to resume their media operations at a meeting in the province of Farah.
“Women have not been allowed to continue their activities one hundred per cent up to this point, but they have said they will allow them. We will be happy if they allow us and truly abide by their promises,” Tolo News quoted Marzia Noorzai, a journalist as saying.
The Naw-e-Zan radio representatives stated that in addition to obtaining authorization for media operations, they also want financial assistance in order to maintain their media operations. Numerous media houses have been shut in the war-torn nation due to a lack of funds and the Taliban’s imposition of strict measures on the press.

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