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Journalist arrested, beaten and detained briefly in line of duty

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

Military Attack on Journalists Deprives Citizens of Information

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its concern over an attack against a magazine editor working in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Chief Editor of Etesam Monthly Magazine Ghulam Ali Sarem says that members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) attacked him while he was taking a photo of an army bus which had been blown apart by a suicide bomber.

The suicide attack killed 30 people and injured 20.

Sarem was first on the scene following the attack and saw the ANA carrying dead bodies and the injured from the scene. According to Sarem, after taking the photo he was arrested and then humiliated and beaten by the ANA, who held him in detention for two hours before releasing him.

IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said that this unprovoked attack on Sarem represents an attack on media freedom in Afghanistan.

"The media in Afghanistan have the right to report the news without risking injury from the military or any other group," Park said. "Incidents like these deter journalists in doing their jobs and thereby deprive the public of receiving information on such horrific events."

The IFJ joins its affiliate the Afghanistan Independent Journalist Association (AIJA) and Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists (CPAJ) in condemning the incident, and calls on the government to guarantee journalists' safety.

The attack comes after Afghani cameraman for Afghanistan Radio Television, Farid Ahman, was injured while filming the demolition of a mine which killed two police officers and injured three.

"The government needs to place a greater focus on providing a safe environment for journalists to ensure free and fair reporting," Park said.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in more than 114 countries.

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