Thursday, October 12, 2006

Afghan news organization condemns the murder of journalists

Nai is a fairly new Afghanistan media organization. Their condemnation of the murder of two journalists (on 10/6/06) in Baghlan, northern Afghanistan, represents honest concerns, for this organization is trying to work in a rough neighborhood. Journalists are by definition pitted against those in power because in seeking to know the truth they clash against the interests of those who want "the truth" to be told in a certain way - note Musharraf's recent self-congratulating new book. Politicians and other power holders always have an interest in how the news is told; if there is any interested party in any situation it is the power holder. So an honest attempt to represent what is actually taking place turns out to be dangerous, especially when an affected power holder has no one to be accountable to. In Afghanistan there are places where the government has little writ. So the journalists at Nai can be fearful that they could be next, if something happens to any journalist. Nai has formally issue its concern: "Nai regrets that foreign and local correspondents continue to face a host of dangers while trying to carry out their jobs in Afghanistan. A lack of security and rule of law continues to be one of the biggest obstacles to a free press." On-the-ground reporters who know the language, and the nuances of meaning conveyed in strategic circumstances, are priceless - which is why they are so at risk; they catch the nuances.
In a sense, where there is an involved public, a journalist's defence can be to expose when he/she is threatened. Apropos of that, Nai has recently reported that Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf has made menacing comments against a television station that reported on local demonstrations against him in Paghman. They have also reported that Isteqlal Radio, in Logar Province, has been torched; and that a BBC Pashto reporter was robbed in Khost, his vehicle, equipment and cash stolen.

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