NAI calls for release of journalists arrested by NDS in Kandahar
NAI, supporting open media in Afghanistan, has called for the release of four Afghan journalists who have been reportedly arrested by operatives of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) in the southern Kandahar province.
According to NAI, the NDS operatives arrested Besmillah Watandost, Qudrat Sultani, and Muhib Ubaidi, who are working for Radio Sadayee Mellat, and Sanaullah Seyyam, a photojournalist of Xinhua News Agency, yesterday, July 26, in Kandahar city.
The Afghan media watchdog detailed that the journalists were arrested after conducting interview with a Taliban commander in the militants’ controlled area. It added that the NDS office in Kandahar has said they have arrested the journalists following the instruction of the country’s National Security Council.
NAI also expressed concern that the journalists are still under arrest and their families are worried about their fate.
Office of the National Security Council, however, rejected instructing arrest of the journalists. “Whoever acts against the national interests, the NDS is responsible and obliged to interrogate them,” the council noted regarding the arrest.
Describing the journalists’ arrest as contrary to the laws, freedom of expression, and human rights , NAI called for their immediate release. Any journalism wrongdoing must be assessed by the Commission responsible for reviewing media violations and complaints, as stipulated in the article 43 of Mass Media Law.
“Illegal arrest of journalists will discourage the journalists from going to the combat zones and reflecting on the situation of those got stuck in the areas,” the media watchdog warned.
The Afghan Independent Journalists Union said in a statement issued yesterday, July 26, the NDS operatives have arrested these four journalists following receiving order from the National Security Council.
They had gone to Spin Boldak district to prepare an investigative report about “genocide” attributed to the Taliban militants, the union added.
Last Friday, July 23, the Ministry of Interior accused the Taliban of killing around 100 civilians in Spin Boldak. A day later, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) said it has ordered relevant authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident, terming it as a “genocide” according to Afghan laws.
The Taliban, however, has rejected the claim as propagation of the Afghan government.