May 15, 2018
The intensifying war in Farah and the possible fall of the provincial capital to Taliban as well as carelessness of the local officials particularly the media supporting organs have demoralized and disappointed journalists in the western province to work.
The report is being prepared at a time when fighting between government troops and Taliban militants is intensely continuing in the provincial capital with the insurgents have already taken some key points in the city and the fear of the city’s fall is very high. Residents have fled their houses to some secure areas out of the city.
The situation in Farah province was narrated by reporters there who are so worried about the condition.
Fariba Faizi, reporter for the Radio Neshat (Joy), a local channel and representative of the Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists in Faraha, has fled her hometown to the adjacent province of Herat along with her family. She has no information about her colleagues in Farah. She asked the media supporting officials to listen to the Farah reporters’ voices and take practical measures to help them.
“Journalists who are part of the society and the sources of information to people have been stuck in the center of this problem and are endangered. They are completely disappointed with the media supporting bodies and other related organs,” she said.
Journalists in such sensitive situation expect help and assistance from the media supporting organizations, according to Faizi, who added that nobody has yet responded to their demands to help them.
Dadullah Qane, a member of the provincial council, said that Taliban militants launched attacks on the provincial capital at around 02:00am. They removed the security belt at the outskirts of the city and stormed the provincial capital, Qane said. He warned against the fall of the entire Farah city if reinforcements were not sent.
Hamidullah Hamidi, in charge of the Radio Neshat and deputy head of the journalists’ federation, said that a number of the broadcaster employees had taken arms to defend themselves. He added that he did not know anything about other of his employees.
He blamed the officials at the media supporting organizations for staying careless about the journalists’ condition in Farah, saying nobody has called them to promise for their transition from the war scene or at least providing safety measures.
But, Zia Bomia, member of the journalists’ federation and media outlets, said that the federation and the government’s joint committee for reporters’ safety, talked to the security officials. “Security officials have promised to first take all the journalists to the military base on the outskirts of the city. If the situation gets worse in Farah, journalists would be immediately flown to the neighboring province of Herat and would be accommodated there,” Bomia said.
He said that more than 10 female journalists were also on the list of assistance who would be transported to Herat.
Farah province was at edge of fall last year. Journalists were almost trapped in the city, but nobody from the government or the non-government media supporting organizations paid attention to their condition.
“In such condition, our safety is in danger and we cannot even do our reporting responsibilities. I call on the government and other media supporting organizations to meet our problems,” said Baryalai Nosrat, a journalist in Farah.
Wahid Sokoot, head of the committee for the journalists’ safety in Farah said that he tried several times to make contact with the UN assistance mission (UNAMA) offices both in Farah and Kabul, but they did not answer to his demands for help.
Hamid Nosrat, another journalist who is working for the Radio Donai (World), another local channel, said that local officials give them no information about the situation in the province and they are facing information problems to report.
Last year when Farah was in danger of fall, the UNAMA and another organization named Ahram and claimed to be working for the safety of journalists and civil society activists, provided a list of journalists including a number of ladies to provide them with safety measures and transport them to another province if Farah would fall.
Now, the same situation and even worse than the previous one is threatening reporters there, but neither the UNAMA nor other organizations are raising voice to help journalists in the province.
Another journalist, Abdul Ghani Piroz, head of the Radio Faryad (Shout), said on the phone the condition was a bit calm and no heavy weapons’ voice was heard in the city.
He added that some of the reporters were shifted to the military base, but there was no contact with each other, as the internet was cut and most of the cell phones were off.
Piroz said that the police districts 2, 3 and 5 in the city were calm and he was at home, but warned he would also go to the military base if the situation worsened.
He informed of the arrival of reinforcements, hoping that could help for the situation get calm. “Otherwise, many people will be in danger.”
There are four female journalists in the Radio Faryad, according to Piroz, who said that the ladies were living out of the city in the outskirt villages, but were scared.
Journalists in Farah call on the government and media supporting organizations to do something as soon as possible to help them, otherwise, their lives were threatened.
Reporting by: Fariba Faizi
Editing by: Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists