Press Statement

Afghan journalist gunned down at wedding

19 Jan, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the killing of a radio journalist in Afghanistan on Friday, January 16.

According to reports, Aqil Mohammad Waqar, a 20-year-old journalist working with the Speenghar Radio in Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan was shot dead by unknown gunmen at a wedding party. Waqar was attending the party when the gunmen opened fire at him immediately killing him.

Speenghar Radio editor-in-chief Shir Bahadur Hemat believed that the murder was politically motivated. Waqar was the presenter of ‘People and the Official’, a political and social program with the radio station from January 2013 to October 2014 before starting working as a reporter there.

Waqar is the first media personal to be killed in Afghanistan in 2015. Nine media personal lost their lives in Afghanistan in 2014  making the country one of the most dangerous places to work for journalists in the world.

The IFJ offer their deep and heart-felt condolences to the family of the victim. The IFJ also demands an immediate investigation and arrest of the perpetrators; and justice for the slain journalist.

Jane Worthington, the IFJ Asia Pacific acting director, said: “The IFJ is saddened by this loss and strongly condemn this latest murder. Press freedom and the safety of journalists continue to be a major challenge for the media community in Afghanistan. 2014 was a dire year for journalists across the country with nine deaths, and something must be done to ensure 2015 does not follow the same trajectory. We call on the Afghan Government to follow through on their commitmentsmade to press freedom at the end of 2014.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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