WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Pajhwok Afghan editor-in-chief Danish Karokhel has said the number of journalists killed in Afghanistan is high because their killers were never prosecuted.
Addressing a two-day meeting in Washington in connection with the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on Thursday, Karokhel said the Afghan journalists had played a key role in informing the people during the last two decades.
The event in Washington was organized by UNESCO, the Organization of American States and the US Human Rights Commission.
Karokhel said Afghan journalists supported democratic institutions, fought against corruption and held accountable public representatives and government functionaries during the past 20 years.
He said before the fall of the republic government, the media was among the most trusted institutions in Afghanistan.
He said the responsibility of the Afghan media operating inside and outside Afghanistan had increased in the absence of foreign observers.
He said the Afghan media should present reliable information about women’s rights, human rights, refugees, displaced people and other areas.
After the fall of Kabul in 2021, Karokhel said, half of media outlets in Afghanistan ceased operating and about 8,000 journalists and media workers lost their jobs.
He said hundreds of journalists were rendered jobless during the last two years due to the absence of the international community in Afghanistan, particularly international organizations that worked for their rights and freedom of expression.
He said financial problems of media outlets and journalists had increased due to global economic sanctions and banking sector problems in Afghanistan.
He added systematic restrictions had been imposed on female journalists and their number reduced from 2378 to less than 500 while no female journalists existed in 17 provinces.
Karokhel said Afghan media outlets operating outside the country faced problems in collecting information. He said diplomats should talk to Afghan officials about freedom of speech in meetings.
He said facilities should be created in sending money to Afghanistan in order to reduce economic problems of the media.
“Due to these problems, about one thousand journalists and media workers have left the country, some are living in bad conditions in other countries and others are stuck in third countries”.
Karokhel urged the international community to rescue these journalists and transfer them to their respective countries.
He said the Afghan media could survive and thrive with the support of the international community.
He said 127 journalists, including 20 women, had been killed in Afghanistan since 2001 with 90 percent of the cases could not be investigated due to the culture of impunity.