Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s attack on Radio Hamisheh Bahar (Always Spring) in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, by gunmen who beat security guards and journalists and then destroyed transmission equipment, interrupting broadcasting.
“The authorities must continue to show a determination to quickly identify and punish those responsible for violence against journalists and news media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “One of the reasons for the increase in attacks on journalists is the impunity enjoyed by local officials who have been implicated in cases of violence against the media.”
Hamisheh Bahar manager Sohbatollah Entezar told journalists: “They warneds that they would kill everyone if we continued to broadcast.” He also reported receiving telephone threats from various unidentified people including Taliban members. “They asked me to fire certain journalists and to stop broadcasting programmes,” he added.
The Nangarhar provincial governor announced the formation of a committee to investigate yesterday’s attack, which has not been claimed, and to arrest those responsible.
Afghan journalists’ unions, which suspect certain local officials and the information and culture minister of being involved, have condemned the violence and have called for “those responsible to be rapidly arrested and brought to justice.”
Since its creation in 2010, Hamisheh Bahar has been broadcasting around the clock in Nangarhar and the neighbouring provinces of Kounar, Khost, Paktika and Logar. With 24 employees including four women, the station has been the target of repeated intimidation by the Taliban and local officials.