Key Developments

  • Country prepares for elections, drawdown of foreign troops and aid.

  • Journalists threatened and attacked, but none killed in relation to work.

As the country moved toward the elections scheduled for April 2014, and international military and development aid decreased, journalists were under mounting pressure. Threats and harassment came from all sides – the government, the military, state security organizations, insurgent groups, and regional and ethnic power brokers seeking a return to power. While CPJ documented no killings of journalists in relation to their work in 2013, a report by a local press freedom organization found at least 41 anti-press violations in the first half of the year alone, including threats and attacks. Several female journalists reported leaving the profession over the year, citing pressure from their families in connection with threats from conservative religious groups. Broadcast media had the most influence in the country, but the Ministry of Communication announced mid-year that the broadcast spectrum was nearing saturation.

[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 2013.]

Attacks on journalists: 41

A report by the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee documented at least 41 instances of anti-press violations, including attacks and threats, in the first six months of 2013. The committee, which is based in Kabul with representatives around the country, is an initiative of the Copenhagen-based International Media Support group funded by the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish governments.

Breakdown of some attacks, threats:

Abdullah Danish
The reporter for Radio Dunya in Parwan province was told in March by unidentified armed men to stop his radio program or he would be killed. Danish stopped airing the program.

Nazir Reha
The chief editor of Asia TV said he was beaten by unidentified assailants and left on the side of the road in Herat province in April in connection with a critical show he aired on his station.

Sher Mohammed Jahish
The reporter for Radio Ashna in Baghlan province said he received serious telephone threats in June after airing a report on land grabbing.

Killed in 2013: 0

As in 2012, CPJ documented no killings of journalists in Afghanistan in relation to their work this year. Afghanistan ranked as the world's 12th deadliest country for the press since 1992, down from 10th in 2012, according to CPJ research.

TV and radio stations: 239

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology said in mid-2013 that with 239 existing TV and radio stations, the broadcast spectrum was nearing saturation. With a literacy rate of 34 percent, broadcast media had the most influence.

Breakdown of stations:

TV stations 32 in Kabul, 33 in provinces

Radio stations 47 in Kabul, 127 in provinces

Internet penetration: 5.45%

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, up from 5 percent in 2011, has risen very slowly, due to poor infrastructure and a high illiteracy rate.

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