July 16, 2012 1 Comment
Journalists in Afghanistan face intimidation, threats and harassment on a daily basis. Media support organisations need to do more to help journalists stay safe.
By Malik Faisal Moonzajer
How can news organisations truly protect their staff?
Many media support organisations hope that reporting threats and attacks [on journalists] will help the journalists stay safe. Sometimes this is not enough. Although employees in these outfits work hard, I have spoken to some journalists who are not satisfied with organisations who only look for statistics to post on their websites.
Journalists in Afghanistan encounter a number of threats.
Some report on sensitive issues, particularly those involving tradition and specific cultural values, with the hope that they will ‘get famous’. This idea is ingrained in society. But reporting on sensitive issues can lead to threatening phone calls, being followed and other forms of harassment. Even the journalists who want to report on corruption to bring change rather than fame are at risk.
A number of journalists are not professionally accredited and may not have completed academic journalism courses. This too can lead to threats, if they do not know about journalism ethics or how to write a balanced story. When they face serious problems, some unions can not do anything to protect them. When a journalist is killed, some organisations just shout out in the media and publish a few newsletters, and then the case is forgotten. I know of cases of journalists killed in Afghanistan which are still unsolved.