Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2018, 08:18 GMT

Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Afghanistan

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 14 February 2013
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2012 - Afghanistan, 14 February 2013, available at: [accessed 22 February 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Key Developments

  • News outlets fight media bill, saying it opens door for government control.

  • As foreign aid dwindles, sustainability of many news outlets is in doubt.

For the first time since 2005, CPJ documented no work-related fatalities in Afghanistan. But the country remained a dangerous place, with many international and domestic journalists telling CPJ that they had received threats during the year. News outlets united to slow the advance of a media bill that, with its vague terminology, would allow for increased government restrictions on news coverage. As donor nations prepared to scale down military and economic support and funders backed away in the run-up to the 2014 deadline for troop withdrawal, Afghanistan's vibrant press, with more than 400 news organizations, began to look increasingly overpopulated. Despite efforts by local journalists and international organizations to bolster the Afghan media, outlet managers and owners said the decline had already begun. Some estimated that more than 700 journalists had already lost their jobs by mid-year. The country suffered from an increasingly non-partisan national media environment; instead, news organizations set up by political or religious leaders looked most likely to survive. Internet penetration remained very low as officials began to implement a World Bank-funded project aimed at quadrupling the rate by 2016.

[Refworld note: The sections that follow represent a best effort to transcribe onto a single page information that appears in tabs on the CPJ's own pages, which also include a number of dynamically-generated graphics not readily reproducible here. Refworld researchers are therefore strongly recommended to check against the original report: Attacks on the Press in 2012.]

Impunity Index ranking: 7th

With no prosecutions in journalist murders in 10 years, Afghanistan is one of the world's worst nations in combating deadly anti-press violence, according to CPJ's Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved murders as a percentage of each country's population.

CPJ's 2012 Impunity Index:

1. Iraq
2. Somalia
3. Philippines
4. Sri Lanka
5. Colombia
6. Nepal
7. Afghanistan
8. Mexico
9. Russia
10. Pakistan
11. Brazil
12. India

Killed in 2012: 0

Although there were no journalism-related murders in Afghanistan this year, the country still ranked as the 10th deadliest country in the world for the press since 1992, according to CPJ research.

Civilians killed: 1,145

In the first half of 2012, overall violence in Afghanistan decreased by 15 percent compared with the same period in 2011, according to the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. The decline in civilian casualties reversed the trend of the past five years.

Internet Penetration: 5%

Afghanistan has one of the world's lowest rates of Internet penetration, according to the most recent data from the International Telecommunication Union, or ITU. Internet penetration has risen very slowly due to poor infrastructure and a high illiteracy rate.

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