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Threats against Journalists are increasing under Hamid Karzai

By Hanan Habibzai,STAFF WRITER

In January 2002, Tom Ford, aka Mr Fashion, at his menswear show for Gucci in Milan, comes up with a surprising idea to recognize the newly appointed Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, “the most chic man in the world”.

He was in the news not for his political knowledge and foreign policies but for his dressing style. After eight years, Mr Karzai no longer remains a ‘’chic man ‘’.

His government appeared deeply involved in corruption and injustice. Most Afghans no longer hope for a better life while corrupt officials hold power.
‘’It is a shame that  foreign donors are wasting their money by giving it in the hands of corrupt officials and we therefore do not see any positive result’’ a Kabul shopkeeper Sayed Karim regrettably told me during an interview.
‘’International community and Afghan people should bring a change within official circles to insure that people have access to justice, food, education and remain united.’’ Karim added.

His government appeared deeply involved in corruption and injustice. Most Afghans no longer hope for a better life while corrupt officials hold power.

These are the common thoughts. Afghan media is seriously considering the frail official performance. On the other hand the Afghan government avails every opportunity to curb the Afghan writers and journalist from finding the best obtainable version of truth.

The recent detention of Radio Kapisa’s director, for being outspoken on government corruption, raised concerns within Afghan journalists.
The 34 year old Hojatullah Mujadidi has been arrested by Afghan National Directorate of Security (ANDS) in Kapisa province.

A press statement of Reporters Without Borders confirms; ‘’a high ranking ANDS official  Khajeh Zafar in Kapisa province ,ordered the arrest on 18 September in connection with terrorist activities but the ANDS has produced no evidence to support the cliaim.’’ Support for Mujadidi is high. His arrest damages the credibility of Karzai and his government, particularly in Kapisa where the number of his critics is widespread and his opponents are apparently active in political conducts.

There is a growing clamour from members of the press and cultural figures for a crackdown on what is seen loutish behaviour of officials.

‘’ He was not permitted by Kapisa’s governor to investigate the increasing corruption within local official branches. An innocent journalist can not behave as a violent person. We are quite hopeless.’’ Mohammed Adris a friend of Mr Mujadidi shared his via phone.

Afghan Justice Ministry suggested the safe release of Mr Mujadidi because the ANSD failed to provide evidence in support of the organisation’s claim against Mujadidi.

The dispute is a local in its very essence but the government is caught up in it. This dispute resonates among ordinary Afghans, who remember previous attempts by government to silence the voice of the country’s writers. Afghans increasingly believe that the marginalisation of writers results in marginalisation of the society at large.

Afghan intellects and journalists are still mourning the cruel murder of BBC journalist Abdul Samad Rohani and CTV’s Ahmad Javeed Yazmy-Jojo.

Rohani was kidnapped in June 2008, few metres away from provincial office, the seat of the Afghan government’s power. He has not been seen alive since. While Javeed was assassinated in Kandahar earlier last year, having spent nearly a year in an American military jail in Afghanistan, after being accused of having links to militants. He died just a few months after his release.

A great deal of Rohani’s work focused on uncovering war crimes, corruption and documenting the increase in drug trafficking. For this he was widely detested by local government.

In June 2010, the Governor of Helmand province Gulab Mangal confirmed the murder was staged by local security officials. The Governor also admitted that he was too weak to arrest the killers.

The Government’s refusal of hearing the demands for justice deteriorated its position in the Rohani and Javeed’s murders cases. In addition, by targeting Hojatullah Mujadidi, the government has left itself vulnerable as people inevitably start to question the war being waged against journalists, writers and other activists who dare to hold politicians to account.

View the original article at Veterans Today

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