For the first time since 2005, CPJ documented no work-related fatalities in Afghanistan. But the country remained a dangerous place, with many international and domestic journalists telling CPJ that they had received threats during the year. News outlets united to slow the advance of a media bill that, with its vague terminology, would allow for increased government restrictions on news coverage. As donor nations prepared to scale down military and economic support and funders backed away in the run-up to the 2014 deadline for troop withdrawal, Afghanistan’s vibrant press, with more than 400 news organizations, began to look increasingly overpopulated. Despite efforts by local journalists and international organizations to bolster the Afghan media, outlet managers and owners said the decline had already begun. Some estimated that more than 700 journalists had already lost their jobs by mid-year. The country suffered from an increasingly partisan national media environment; instead, news organizations set up by political or religious leaders looked most likely to survive. Internet penetration remained very low as officials began to implement a World Bank-funded project aimed at quadrupling the rate by 2016.
With no prosecutions in journalist murders in 10 years, Afghanistan is one of the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, according to CPJ's Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved murders as a percentage of each country's population.
4. Sri Lanka
Although there were no journalism-related murders in Afghanistan this year, the country still ranked as the 10th deadliest country in the world for the press since 1992, according to CPJ research.
In the first half of 2012, overall violence in Afghanistan decreased by 15 percent compared with the same period in 2011, according to the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. The decline in civilian casualties reversed the trend of the past five years.
Afghanistan has one of the world's lowest rates of Internet penetration, according to the most recent data from the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU. Internet penetration has risen very slowly due to poor infrastructure and a high illiteracy rate.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.