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Afghanistan

2011


Journalists die at high rates while covering protests in the Arab world and elsewhere. Photographers and freelancers appear vulnerable. Pakistan is again the deadliest nation. A CPJ special report

In Egypt, protesters demanding democratic change gather in Tahrir Square. (AFP)

New York, November 29, 2011--When delegates from more than 100 countries and international aid organizations meet in Bonn on December 5 at an international conference on Afghanistan's future, they must alter their tactics and aim more to support the professionalization and safety training of the country's emerging press corps, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday. Though Afghan media outlets have expanded rapidly in the post-Taliban-rule era, journalists need to be better trained and must know how to survive the threats and dangers that are part of their daily lives in order to ensure that the country's fragile democracy has robust media.

New York, September 22, 2011--Farhad Taqaddosi, a cameraman for Iran's Press TV, died in a Kabul hospital on Tuesday of injuries he sustained in the Taliban's September 13 attack on prominent international buildings in Kabul, the station reported.

(AFP)
New York, September 8, 2011--The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said today that one of its soldiers was responsible for the July 28 death of a local journalist working for the BBC Afghanistan service and the Pajhwok Afghan News agency. The ISAF soldier, an American, told authorities that he thought Ahmed Omaid Khpalwak was an insurgent reaching for a bomb under his vest, and shot him dead, an ISAF statement said.

Khpalwak, 25, died in violence between insurgents and security forces when gunmen and suicide bombers targeted the governor's office and police headquarters in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan.

Khpalwak covered more than just war and instability--he captured everyday life in Afghanistan. (Khpalwak)

Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak covered violent news. His last two stories for Pajhwok Afghan News, before he died on July 28 in a major attack in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province, were about an attack on police checkpoints in which both Taliban and police were killed, and an interview with a would-be suicide bomber. Few of his 24 years of life saw any kind of peace in Afghanistan. 

New York, July 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, a BBC and Pajhwok Afghan News reporter, in violence between insurgents and security forces in central Afghanistan today.
Stéphane Taponier, left, and Hervé Ghesquière say they will return to work as soon as possible. (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, the two France 3 journalists held captive by the Taliban for 547 days, had a big surprise when they entered the France Télévisions building Thursday afternoon, a few hours after landing at the military base of Villacoublay, close to Paris, where they were welcomed by President Nicolas Sarkozy. 

'Free the hostages!' was the rallying cry for those seeking the release of Hervé Ghesquière, left, and Stéphane Taponier. (AFP/Michel Gangne)

New York, June 29, 2011--Eighteen months after their abduction in Afghanistan, the Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of France 3 television crew members Hervé Ghesquière, Stéphane Taponier, and Reza Din.

New York, June 29, 2001--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes reports from the French government that journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier and their interpreter Reza Din have been released after more than 18 months in captivity. CPJ is seeking further news about the group's fixer and driver, known as Ghulam and Sattar, who were also abducted.

New York, June 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect journalists is disturbed by the June 1 declaration by Afghanistan's Ulema Shurab, or the Council of Religious Scholars, criticizing two media outlets, Hasht-e-Subh Daily newspaper and Tolo Television, for what it reportedly called "immorality" and "animosity against Islam," according to Afghan media owners. The council is a powerful force in Afghan politics and meets frequently with President Hamid Karzai to advise him on religious and cultural affairs.

CPJ’s 2011 Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free

Last Friday's post, "After bin Laden, a warning to foreign journalists," generated several responses from Western journalists in Kabul. I also did two lengthy interviews on Monday with the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Voice of America, and fielded questions from several other news outlets. 

The Taliban claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed two in Peshawar. (Reuters/Fayaz Aziz)

Security is always risky in Kabul, as it is in the entire Afghanistan-Pakistan theater. But the May 2 U.S. raid into Pakistan and killing of Osama bin Laden has raised the risk of retaliation against international representatives, including journalists. 

Partisan Journalism and the Cycle of Repression

With journalists in their midst, police and protesters clash in Bangkok. (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom)

by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin

Lal Wickramatunga's family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka's highly charged political climate. While Leader's newspapers, including the weekly Sunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga's brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.

Top Developments
• Two killed, but press fatalities don't rise in proportion to overall dangers.
• Kidnappings an ongoing hazard; two French journalists held captive.

Key Statistic
13: Foreign journalists killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion.


Journalists faced numerous challenges from a multifaceted war, instances of government censorship, a culture of official corruption, and factionalism within the domestic media. Two journalists were killed and two others were held by kidnappers throughout the year. The Afghanistan NGO Safety Office, an agency funded by the European Union and European governmental aid agencies, said in September that Afghanistan was at its most dangerous level since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Insecurity reigned even as the NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), raised troop levels, largely through the addition of about 30,000 U.S. forces. By the end of November, the United States had about 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, and ISAF troop levels stood at more than 130,000.

New York, January 19, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned about the acid attack on Afghan journalist and author Razaq Mamoon, which left him disfigured. Local and international media reports say Mamoon was attacked as he was walking outside his apartment in Kabul on Tuesday evening.

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Killed in Afghanistan

26 journalists killed since 1992

12 journalists murdered

8 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

7th On CPJ's Impunity Index, making it one of the worst at combating anti-press violence.

Country data, analysis »

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