MEDIA

Another Journalist Murdered As Afghanistan Faces Its Deadliest Reporting Climate In Years

Friends and family of slain Afghan AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad attend a candle light vigil on a hill overlooking Kabul on March
Friends and family of slain Afghan AFP reporter Sardar Ahmad attend a candle light vigil on a hill overlooking Kabul on March 26, 2014. Hundreds of well-wishers turned up to remember Sardar, his wife and two of their children who were killed in a Taliban attack. Four teenage gunmen with concealed pistols carried out a raid on the prestigious Serena hotel just weeks before Afghanistan votes for a successor to President Hamid Karzai in a poll the Taliban had vowed to disrupt. Sardar Ahmad, 40, his wife Homaira, six-year-old daughter Nilofar and five-year-old son Omar were among nine civilians to have lost their lives in the assault. AFP PHOTO/Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

A young Afghan journalist was brutally murdered in Afghanistan Tuesday night, adding to the six journalists already killed in the country in 2014 alone.

Palwasha Tokhi, who worked for Bayan Radio in Mazar-i-Sharif, was stabbed by an unidentified visitor outside of her home, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

Tokhi's death, along with six others this year, makes 2014 the deadliest year for reporters in Afghanistan since the Taliban were driven out of power in 2001, according to data by Nai, an Afghan non-government organization working in support of the media.

In April, AP's Anja Niedringhaus was shot to death by an Afghan police commander, while her colleague Kathy Gannon was left wounded. Niedringhaus's killing became the first recorded incident of Afghan police or military insiders shooting a journalist.

Afghan reporter Sardar Ahmad lost his life in March, when he was killed along with his wife and two of their three children while at a party for the Persian New Year. His death was one of several attacks in Afghanistan thought to be headed by the Taliban ahead of the presidential election.

More than 15 journalists have reported being beaten so far this year, and several more say they have received threats, wounds and attempted kidnappings, according to Nai's data. Nai's executive director Abdul Mujeeb Khelwatgar told the New York Times that more than 40 journalists have now been killed in Afghanistan since 2001 alone.

As the violence grows, Syria is still the deadliest country for journalists in 2014, a situation chillingly highlighted by the horrific killings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in recent weeks. The Committee to Protect Journalists found that 71 journalists have been killed as a result of the ongoing conflict in Syria. In just a little more than two decades, thousands of journalists have died and hundreds have been murdered worldwide.

But the most recent killing of Tokhi is particularly noteworthy due to her position as a female journalist, as women remain largely underrepresented in Afghanistan's media. Despite the rise in media freedom following the Taliban's downfall, few media outlets have embraced female reporters and cases of sexual harassment and dangerous work environments have discouraged women from taking on such roles, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission's Dr. Soraya Sobrang said.

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