Journalists in Afghanistan fear for their safety

The journalists also feel that they are not able to exercise their duties like their counterparts in many other countries as the government authorities and officials are "reluctant" in sharing information about developments in the country with them.

A group of 30 journalists, including 13 women, are here in India on a visit to interact with officials, journalists and others to see for themselves how the media functions here.
The scribes also said Afghans see India as a friend with the country being involved in a series of developmental works like constructing roads and buildings for the people after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

Marzia Adil, who works for BBC Pashtu Radio, said journalists in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif feel "secure" and can exercise their responsibilities as a scribe but same cannot be said about those in smaller cities and provinces.

"In Kabul, we are safe and we can move around the entire city without any fear. But, in smaller cities and provinces, journalists, especially women scribes, are scared to come ou...They are threatened by local extremist groups not to step out of their homes," she told PTI.

"Some people threaten the family members of journalists not to send them out...These things are common in smaller provinces and cities," she said.

However, Abdul Wahab Alizai, correspondent with Radio and Television Afghanistan, says officials in different departments in Kabul don’t cooperate with journalists and refuse to share information with them.

"Some officials just don’t share any information about anything that happens...It is difficult to get information from them. These are some of the difficulties faced by us," he said.Echoing Adil’s views, Wakht news agency reporter Naweed Ahmad Amiry said journalists in provinces and cities outside Kabul face more problems in exercising their responsibilities.

"Kabul is safe, but other provinces are not that safe for journalist...more should be done for their safety," he says. Asked to compare today's situation with the one prevailing during the Taliban regime, Adil said, "It cannot be compared...Those days women were confined to their homes. Now the situation has entirely changed. People are able to move here and there. People including women even travel to other countries."

The journalists said the people of Afghanistan look for help from India as it is "powerful" in the region.

"Everyone in Afghanistan looks towards India as a friend and guide. People feel India can play a major role in the reconstruction process as it is a powerful country in this part of the world," said Kairullah Azad, who works with Noor TV.

The scribes also said Afghanistan has a lot to learn from India, especially how people from different culture can live together in a country."India is a country with diverse culture. It has a very vibrant democracy and Afghanistan can learn these things from India," they said.

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