As many as 132 journalists have been murdered over past 19 years in Afghanistan, according to an official record revealed by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), and Afghanistan Attorney General’s Office (AGO).
Speaking at a joint press conference today, September 28, Tariq Arian, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, said that Afghanistan’s police have arrested 33 culprits who were suspected for journalists’ murders. Cases of these suspects have been handed over to the AGO, according to MoI.
Jamshid Rasooli, spokesperson for AGO, also speaking at the same joint press conference with the MoI, said that 30 out of the 33 cases have already been sued in line with the law. He underlined that 56 suspects, who had been suspected for journalists’ murder cases, were identified and arrested.
On the other hand, the MoI spokesperson detailed that out of 132 murder cases against journalists, 56 cases were committed by the Taliban. Mr. Arian stated that 28 perpetrators were killed in battle with police forces, and 11 cases are under police investigation. He added that 56 cases of violence against journalists, including murder and humiliation, were registered over last year with the MoI. The MoI had referred 20 of those cases to the AGO for investigation, and 15 cases are still under police investigation at the Ministry of Interior, according to MoI spokesperson.
As Rasooli confirmed, 34 people have been arrested in connection with those 20 cases referred to the AGO.
This comes three months after a number of journalists, in a letter to President Ghani, called for an end to culture of impunity to crimes committed against journalists and media workers.
The journalists called on Joint Committee of Government and Media to follow murder cases of journalists.
Afghanistan is not a safe country for journalists. They are facing access to information and threats most often posed by armed groups including the Taliban militants. The Afghan government has made repeated vows to investigate cases of murder against journalists and bring the culprits to justice but little has been achieved given the culture of impunity existing in the country.