11.08.2015-Kabul. UNESCO Afghanistan continues its support to the safety of journalists in the country, where eight reporters were murdered and 129 injured, assaulted or intimidated by various groups in 2014, the bloodiest in the last fourteen years, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) reported.
UNESCO’s Programme Officer Sayed Habibullah attended the first meeting of the Committee last Aug 3rd with the participation of Sayed Mujhgan Mustafawi-Deputy Minister of Information and Culture, Najib Sharifi-Director Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, Fahim Dashty-Director Afghan Journalists Union, Sidiqiullah Tauhidi-Director Media Watch Afghanistan, Mr. Danish Karokhel-Director Pajhwok New Agency and Shakila Ibrahim Khel-Afghan Women Journalists Association.
The main UNESCO objectives are supporting related capacity building, sustained advocacy towards better laws, needs assessment and the creation of an advocacy group with members from the Government, UN, EU, AJSC and journalists associations.
AJSC was formed last 16 Jul to facilitate better coordination among media support organisations and also paves the way for collective advocacy towards freedom of expression.
The UN Chief Executives Board endorsed the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity on 12 April 2012, when concerns over the safety of journalists were growing worldwide.
The Plan was prepared during the 1st UN Inter-Agency Meeting on this issue, convened by the Director General of UNESCO at the request of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
To further reinforce prevention, the Plan recommends working in cooperation with governments, media houses, professional associations and non governmental organisations to conduct awareness raising campaigns on a wide range of issues such as existing international instruments and conventions, the growing dangers posed by emerging threats to media professionals, including non-state actors, as well as various existing practical guides on the safety of journalists.
In the light of growing threats against Afghan journalists, UNESCO Kabul initiated the local implementation of the UN plan of action on 16th July 2015.