PEC condemns killing of scribes in Ukraine, criticises Taliban for continued atrocities on journalists
Geneva: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, expresses serious concern and condemns the killing of scribes in Ukraine, who have been reporting from ground after the Russian invasion, and urges every concerned to respect freedom of the press. PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/pec-news.shtml) also criticizes the Taliban, who continues to victimise the Afghan journalists after seizing power in Kabul during August last year.
Since the Russian forces started military actions in Ukraine at least six journalists, most of them from foreign countries, were killed inside the country. All the victims including Shakirov Dilerbek Shukurovych (killed in Kherson locality on 26 February 2022), Yevhenii Sakun (Kyiv on 1 March), Viktor Dudar (Mykolaiv, 4 March), Brent Renaud (Irpin, 13 March), Pierre Zakrzewski (Horenka, 14 March), Oleksandra Kurshynova (Horenka, 14 March) were on the ground to report the war.
Dozens of journalists including Benjamin Hall, Guillaume Briquet, Stuart Ramsay, Richie Mockler, Stefan Weichert, Emil Filtenborg Mikkelsen, etc were wounded in the conflict. PEC is alarmed by the continued attacks against the journalists despite they were carrying clear sign PRESS with them. *Journalists should never be the target of military action as they are not combatants. Moreover, they should get the advantage of protections mentioned in Geneva Conventions,” said PEC president Blaise Lempen.
Till date, globally 32 journalists have lost their lives to assailants since 1 January, an increase of 100% compared to last year. The highest number of nine casualties are recorded in Mexico (Jose Luis Gamboa, Margarito Martinez, Lourdes Maldonado, Roberto Toledo, Marcos Ernesto Islas Flores, Heber Lopez Osorio, Michelle Perez Tadeo, Juan Carlos Muñiz and Armando Linares) followed by Haiti (Amady John Wesley, Wilguens Louissaint and Lazarre Maxihen) and Pakistan (Hasnain Shah, Murtaza Shar and Athar Mateen).
India has also witnessed the murder of three scribes (Rohit Kumar Biswal, Sudhir Saini and Juned Khan Pathan) till today this year, whereas Yemen (Mervan Yusuf), Brazil (Givanildo Oliveira), Turkey (Gungor Arslan), Philippines (Jaynard Angeles), Kazakhstan (Muratkhan Bazarbayev), Tchad (Djaï-Loramadji Evariste), Honduras (Pablo Isabel Hernandez Rivera) and Myanmar (Pu Tui Dim) lost one journalist each to assailants.
Meanwhile, Afghan journalists are facing physical tortures from the Taliban forces and many of them had already taken shelter in foreign countries. A recent report, jointly published by Afghanistan Journalists Centre and Afghan Independent Journalists Association, indicated that over 40% of media outlets (out of 224 news channels, radio outlets, news websites, and newspapers) have ceased operations due to funding shortage and imposed limitations.
“Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021, hundreds of working journalists (most of whom are female) have left the country,” said PEC’s south Asia representative Nava Thakuria, adding that the Taliban regime must fulfil its commitment to support press freedom. Moreover, the international community should continue supporting the Afghan media fraternity to prevent its imminent collapse in a conflict-ridden nation.