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Two radio journalists receive death threats; journalists' murderer executed

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

Afghanistan broadcast journalist receives death threats

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its concern over the worsening situation for journalists working in Afghanistan.

Ariana Radio presenter Mohammad Hanif Elam has received several threats over the past five months as a result of his programme "Emroze Der Tarekh" (Today In History).

According to IFJ associate the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA), Elam aired a program about the Taliban occupation and their killing of former Afghanistan President, Dr Najibullah. He also raised the issue of the massacres of innocent people in Bamyan and Mazar-e-sharif, for which the Taliban were allegedly responsible.

Elam said shortly after these programs aired, he received threatening phone calls warning him that killing him would be "easy" if he continued talking about such topics.

Also, a journalist for Liberty Radio, Mr. Dayan Ahmadi, received death threats from powerful warlords after reporting on warlord involvement in drug smuggling, protests against warlords, the stoning of a woman and the death of children due to the unavailability of food in the Zebak district.

He is currently located in Kabul, after his driver was beaten and he was warned that he would be killed if he returned to Badakhshan.

IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqui Park has called on all parties to respect the independent media and allow them to go about their work informing the public.

"Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places in the world to work as a journalist, and media personnel there endure daily threat of attacks, violence and death at the hands of people attempting to suppress their voices," Park said.

Also in Afghanistan, Reza Khan of Kabul, who was sentenced to death for the murder of four journalists in 2001, was executed on October 8.

The killed journalists were Australian Harry Burton, cameraman with Reuters Video News, Aziz Ullah Haidari, an Afghan-born photographer for Reuters news agency, Maria Grazia Cutuli, who had been specially assigned to Afghanistan by the Italian daily Corriere della Serra, and Julio Fuentes, war reporter for the Spanish daily El Mundo. All four were murdered by Khan on November 19, 2001 while on their way from Kabul to Jalalabad.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in more than 115 countries.

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