When a cameraman of “1” TV station was producing a report about sidewalk retailers (hand sellers, people who sell things on the sidewalks of the streets/roads) in Jadeh-e-Maiwand area of Kabul city, a traffic police have beaten him. This incidened took place, yesterday, July 8, 2013.
Meanwhile, Azizul Rahman Sakhi Zada who writes for Mandgar Daily Paper is detained by the personnel of Crime Investigation Department of Kabul province. Because he wrote an article about Dr. Azizullah Lodin, the director of High Administration for Anti-corruption, he is not in detention center of Kabul province and is under prosecution.
On the other hand, a while ago, Mr. Nazari Paryaani who is the chief editor of Mandgar daily paper have been probated secretly and sentenced up to two years and six months in jail. But Mr. Paryaani appealed and now he waits court order to be issued by appealing court. Based on Mass Media Law, media cases have to be evaluated and assessed by Mass Media Commission of the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) and have to be submitted to Attorney Office. But due to the reason that the commission for Mass Media is not established, all media cases are either go under assessment of an illegal institution “The Commission addressing Media violations” or the cases are directly signed and submitted to the Attorney Office by the Minister of Information and Culture.
Considering above mentioned incidents, Nai supporting open media in Afghanistan announces that putting pressure and posing violence on journalists by public institutions have created more concerns and some sources inside the government system would like to limit media activities and they want to put physical and mental pressures on the journalists through different means. We believe that cases related to the journalists have to be sent to the Attorney office based on the content which has been clearly stated in the law for mass media. On the other hand, when there is no risk of escape for accused person, Attorney Office should issue the order to arrest any journalists or writer, unless after court order. It is because until such stage, it is not clear whether the accused person would be declared innocent or sentenced. Attorney General Office of the country needs to pay attention on this regard.
Beating any citizen is against the law and its perpetrators have to be punished. No punishment practice for guilty persons has led to the continuation of violence against the journalists. In case the current trends continued, it will put worse impact on media sector and it will cause self-censorship among the journalists and media which is one of its primary but important consequences.