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Radio station director threatened with death following broadcasts on mail-order fraud

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

Death threats received by radio station head in Afghanistan

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed to hear of numerous threats to an Afghani radio station chief.

Sher Mohammad Jahish, chief editor of Radio Arzoo in Pulkhumri, Baghlan province, has received threats on more than 16 occasions.

According to reliable recordings that have been reviewed by IFJ's project associates in Kabul, anonymous callers using ten different mobile phone numbers began making threats to buy out Mr Jahish's stake in the broadcast company. The callers then threatened Jahish with death.

These threats followed two broadcasts by Radio Arzoo, which exposed a mail-order fraud being carried out by a shadowy outfit named Quest International. Radio Arzoo went on to report that a number of Pulkhumri citizens have fallen victim to the fraud, which involves remitting a sum of US$600 through a branch of Kabul Bank.

"The threats received by Mr Jahish are part of a disturbing pattern of intimidation that has targeted public-spirited media organisations in Afghanistan in recent times." said Jacqueline Park, director of the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

"The authorities need to act swiftly to ensure that this kind of public service broadcasting in Afghanistan is not extinguished by acts such as this."

Mr Jahish is the provincial head of the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association, IFJ's associate in a major project on "Media and Democracy in Afghanistan".

The IFJ, a global organization representing over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries, calls upon the authorities in Afghanistan to act on the evidence produced by Mr Jahish and to ensure his safety and security.

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