Afghan Journalists Slam BBC for Divisive News

Afghan Journalists Slam BBC for Divisive News

The Afghanistan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) has harshly criticized BBC’s reports on the country, saying that it will not allow the British Broadcasting Corporation to continue such divisive process.

Head of the AJSC, Najib Sharifi, who was speaking at a press conference called ‘Violence against Afghan Journalists’ in Kabul, said using a phrase like “Attack in the Shiite-populated area of Kabul” is an example of the discriminatory behaviour of the media.

According to a Farsi report by IRNA, he said there is no Shiite and Sunni-populated areas in Kabul, because they live in all parts of the city.

Afghanistan is not like Iraq and Syria where BBC could sow discord among Shiites and Sunnis, Sharifi noted, adding that Afghans will not allow such propaganda to continue.

He also referred to BBC’s recent report on the son of the Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, and described it as an effort to promote violence.

Sharifi asked BBC what the reliable source is for the news concerning a suicide attack carried out by Akhundzada’s son.

“A media outlet should not believe in the propaganda of a particular group who are pursuing specific goals and their own political interests via publishing such reports,” he noted.

Earlier, Mujib Khalvatgar, the head of NAI Supporting Open Media Institute in Afghanistan, had also criticized BBC News on the Al-Zahra Mosque suicide attack during the holy month of Ramadan in western Kabul.

“On that case, BBC reported a Shiite mosque in West Kabul came under suicide attack.”

He also expressed concern over the rise of violence against Afghan journalists, saying that in the first six months of 2017, 73 cases of violence against journalists were recorded, which shows a 35-percent surge in comparison to the previous year.

He added that this includes 10 cases of killing, 12 injuries, 19 beatings, 18 mistreatments, 5 detentions, and 3 cases of threatened expulsion.

“Such terrorist groups as ISIS and the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killing of journalists, but 34 percent of the mistreatment cases were carried out by the government officials.”

Khalvatgar also said that MPs, governors, and members of provincial councils have mistreated or used violence against the journalists because of their revelations of illegal activities of these government-affiliated individuals and institutions.

AJSC Head finally expressed concern over the decline in the number female journalists in the country, saying that there are no female journalists in 10 provinces. He noted that insecurity, mistreatment and violence have caused women not to show interest in this job.

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