Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Heinous Attack on Media Personnel

In a heinous act, a Taliban suicide car bomber detonated explosives on a bus that was carrying staff members from TOLO TV in Darulaman Road in Kabul on Wednesday evening, killing at least seven staff members, which included three female employees, and wounded 26 others. The employees were on their way home but could never reach their homes as they were targeted by the suicide bomber. The attack marked another deadly suicide attack on Afghan civilians in a current series of bombings in the city.
This attack raises a lot of questions and concerns. The first one is definitely, regarding the security arrangements in the capital; the basic question is again the same – how could an explosive-laden car reach to Darulaman Road despite so many security check posts that have been created around the city? How couldn’t such a car be tracked down when the authorities always claim that they have guarded the city properly?
A concern that seems to be intensifying after this attack is regarding the lives of the civilians. As civilians are not directly part of the conflict; therefore, they should never be targeted. Targeting of civilians by the terrorists for their filthy objectives has no justification and should never be tolerated. Both the international law and the Islamic teachings go against targeting the civilians at the time of a conflict or a war. Though Taliban consider themselves as the upholders of the Islamic teachings, they know nothing about them in the true sense. And, they have kept on targeting the civilians directly or indirectly for spreading terror among the people. It can, therefore, be observed that the attack received a widespread global condemnation on Thursday, with various world countries, activists and media organizations denouncing it as attack on the freedom of expression.
United Nations Security Council also condemned the attack in the strongest terms and it said in a statement that the Security Council strongly condemns the fact that this heinous crime, beyond attacking the lives of civilians, also aims at the right of all Afghans to the freedom of expression. It also emphasized that there is a need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, and urged all states, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Afghan authorities in this regard.
Amnesty International also condemned the attack and urged the Afghan government to take effective steps to stem the tide of violence against journalists, and in particular calls on the authorities to conduct thorough, prompt, impartial and transparent investigations into this and other violent, attacks.
It is really very imperative that the perpetrators in this sort of attacks must be brought to justice so that a lesson could be taught to the ones who want to keep them continue. This attack was no doubt also an attack on the freedom of expression. Recently, there has been uproar by the extremist elements regarding the material in the media. They consider most of the contents in media as non-Islamic and are also concerned about the role and the appearance of women in different TV channels, which they claim as vulgar. However, they are blind to understand that there are many other aspects of the modern Afghan media as well that have brought broad-mindedness among the people and at the same time taught them civic manners and activism. In fact, the modern Afghan media has strived not only to bring timely information to the pubic but it has also functioned as a check on different governmental and non-governmental policies that influence the public.
As the media personnel and journalists provide a very valuable service to the people, they have certain rights as well that should be protected by the governments and different organizations and institutions. Mostly, the societies that are well developed and have great respect for knowledge and information, make sure that their rights are guarded properly and they are provided with such circumstances wherein they are able to perform their responsibilities with full dedication and devotion.
On the other hand, the societies that suffer from political instability and experience wars, and disturbances and do not recognize the worth of true knowledge, information and entertainment and tend to forget the vital responsibility of guarding those rights. Thus, the media personnel and journalists in such societies tend to suffer from different sorts of discriminations and, unfortunately, even lose their lives.
Ill-fatedly, Afghanistan is also one of the countries that have not been giving enough heed to the rights of media personnel and journalists. The war and conflicts and the negligence of the relevant authorities have resulted in different sorts of discrimination against them in the county. Afghan government and different other organizations and groups must make sure that they strive to protect their rights as they are not a party to the conflict and do not serve anyone’s purpose except that of the public.