International media group condemns mob attack on radio station in north Afghanistan

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An angry mob ransacked a local radio station in northern Afghanistan last week after a mosque imam incited the attackers, claiming loud music played by the station had interfered with his prayer service, an international journalists group said on Tuesday.

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The International Federation of Journalists condemned the attack last Friday in the city of Kunduz, the capital of Kunduz province.

It quoted Mohsen Ahmad, director of the Zohra Radio that was targeted in the attack, as saying the mob had damaged station equipment and forced it to halt transmission for several hours. No one was hurt in the attack.

Read more: Afghan radio journalist shot dead in car ambush, fifth media person to be killed

“The safety situation for journalists in Afghanistan must be a major priority for the Afghanistan government,” urged the Brusseles-based IFJ.

The Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association said the same mob tried to also attack two other nearby radio stations but were prevented from entering by policemen who arrived at the scene.

Afghanistan has seen a wave of attacks in recent months against journalists, human rights activists and civil society members. The international press freedom group Reporters Without Borders has called the country one of the world’s deadliest for journalists.

On January 1, journalist and human rights activist Bismillah Adil Aimaq was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on the road near Feroz Koh, the capital of western Ghor province.

He was the fifth journalists slain in attacks since October. Rahmatullah Nekzad, who headed the journalists’ union in eastern Ghazni province, was killed in an attack by armed men outside his home in late December. Nekzad was well known in the area and had contributed to The Associated Press since 2007. He had previously worked for the Al Jazeera satellite TV channel.

Afghanistan’s intelligence department claimed two perpetrators in that attack were subsequently arrested and aired video recordings of the two, with their purported confessions to the slaying and to being Taliban.

However, the Taliban denied involvement in the killing, calling it a cowardly act. Large swaths of Ghazni province are under Taliban control.

The ISIS group, blamed for a series of attacks on a range of targets in Afghanistan in recent months, claimed it had killed another Afghan journalist earlier in December. Two assailants opened fire and killed TV anchorwoman Malala Maiwand as she left her house in eastern Nangarhar province. Her driver was also killed.

In November, two journalists were killed in separate bombings.

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