Members of the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) announced the formation of a new advocacy group on Saturday. The group, composed of both journalists and civil society activists, will be charged with reviewing and evaluating the National Unity Government’s (NUG) policies toward journalism and members of the media.
The group’s founders emphasized that a number of the promises and commitments made by NUG leaders during their electoral campaigns have not been fulfilled.
“NUG leaders committed that they would try to prevent violence against journalist, but the statistics from our journalist supporting institutions have shown an increase in violence against journalists,” AJSC member Fahim Dashti said on Saturday.
“The NUG leaders promised that they would address cases of murdered journalists that have not been addressed over the past 14 years,” Dashti added. “The perpetrators should be brought to justice, but it has still not happened yet.”
Muzhgan Mustafawi, the a deputy at the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC), has said that the government will soon form a committee dedicated to eliminating violence against journalists, and that it will work in coordination with the new advocacy group.
Members of the Afghan media industry have expressed optimism about the new group, despite the obvious challenge it has ahead of it. Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists, and media outlets often objected to the treatment of free speech rights by the Hamid Karzai administration.