Although there were fewer incidents of violence and threats against journalists in 2015 compared to 2014, because of a number of events that have had direct or indirect impact on the modus operandi of the media community and journalists, 2015 has been an important year for future of journalism and freedom of expression in Afghanistan.
In general, the media and journalists have not been immune from increasing insecurity in the country in the year 2015; the general spike in security incidents has affected media and journalists working in the country in ways not seen before. Among these, one can highlight the emergence of ISIS and the Taliban turning more hostile and violent against journalists and media. Increasing economic challenges is another major challenge that journalists have had to deal with, which can be detrimental to the future of media and freedom of expression in the country.
The fall of Kunduz City to the Taliban and their subsequent threats against the media outlets and journalists is another prominent point of the year 2015. This year also witnessed a number of positive developments for the freedom of expression advocates and the media community in the country; the passing of the Access to Information Act, creation of Oversight Commission on Access to Information to follow up its implementation as well as ratification of the statute on establishment and operation of private media organizations. The latter lays the legal framework for resolution of most issues concerning staff recruitment in private media organizations.
The current document presents the semiannual report by Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) reflecting journalists’ safety circumstances during the second six months of 2015. This report also touches on other aspects of journalism and media coverage that are related to the safety of journalists in order to highlight the question of journalists’ safety and present to the readership a more comprehensive picture of journalists’ security situation in the country.
It is worth mentioning that recording of cases of violence against media workers has been carried out based on AJSC’s policies and procedures. This means AJSC uses a specific definition for journalists and media workers; hence, it does not record the cases in which the legal status of the victim does not conform to the definition as stipulated by the Safety Committee.