Wounded journalists are seen following a bombing in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, on March 11, 2023. (AFP/Atif Aryan)

Bombing at Afghan press award event kills 1 journalist, injures more than a dozen

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A bombing on Saturday at an event to honor journalists in Afghanistan left one journalist dead and more than a dozen injured. The militant Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it targeted journalists “working in agencies involved in the war and instigation against IS.”

“It’s barbaric to target journalists at an event meant to celebrate their courage and determination to keep the world informed about Afghanistan,” said Beh Lih Yi, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The recent deadly bombing is a painful reminder of the hostile climate for journalists and the drastic decline of press freedom since the Taliban takeover. The Taliban must do everything they can to protect journalists and let them work safely.”

Afghanistan was ranked fourth on CPJ’s 2022 Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries with the worst records for prosecuting murderers of journalists. In a special report, CPJ has made concrete recommendations to protect Afghan journalists and press freedom in the country.

Global press freedom updates

  • RFE/RL Russian branch declared bankrupt by Moscow court
  • Belarusian court upholds journalist Ivan Muravyou’s 2.5-year prison term
  • Georgian police beat, obstruct journalists covering protests against foreign agent law and authorities deny entry to Russian journalist Aleksandra Shvedchenko
  • Serbian reporter Marko Dragoslavić punched after Belgrade protest
  • Italian police investigate Domani newspaper in criminal defamation case
  • China should improve overseas media accreditation, access following restrictive political meetings
  • Maldives parliament considers amendment restricting journalists’ coverage of elections
  • Zambian police briefly detain two Millennium TV journalists covering protest
  • Senegalese journalist Pape Ndiaye jailed on false news charges
  • Ugandan journalist Andrew Arinaitwe detained on criminal trespass charges
  • Two South African journalists assaulted in separate incidents
  • Independent journalists banned from covering opening session of new Tunisian parliament


Rwandan police said journalist John Williams Ntwali was recently killed in a traffic accident in Kigali. (Screenshot: YouTube/Al-Jazeera)

On Wednesday, CPJ joined 85 other organizations in reiterating their calls for the Rwandan government to allow an independent, impartial investigation into the death of investigative journalist John Williams Ntwali.

Authorities said that Ntwali died on January 18 in a road accident in the Rwandan capital Kigali, but CPJ and other human rights and press freedom groups have called for a credible probe into the circumstances, which remain unclear. Ntwali, who edited the privately owned newspaper The Chronicles and founded the YouTube channel Pax TV-Ireme News, was repeatedly threatened for his reporting.

A hasty trial that concluded in February, in which a driver was convicted and fined for involvement in the road accident, suggests that Rwandan authorities have not fulfilled their legal obligation to investigate effectively, the organizations noted.

The full statement is available in English and French.

What we are reading

So far in 2023…

At least four journalists have been killed in relation to their work. Explore our database of attacks on the press and apply filters to examine trends.

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