Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Afghan authorities to do everything possible to locate the owner of a regional TV station who was snatched from his car on a street in Jalalabad, the capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, last week.
According to Attaullah Khogyani, the provincial governor’s spokesman, Enikas TV owner Zalmi Latifi was being driven home on the evening of 4 December when he was abducted by unidentified gunmen, who killed his driver. No group has so far claimed responsibility.
“The authorities must continue to deploy all possible resources in order to find this journalist and quickly identify and punish those responsible for his abduction,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk.
“We point out that one of the reasons for the increase in violence against journalists is the impunity enjoyed by local officials who are often implicated in violence against the media. No negligence will be accepted.”
Two arrests were reportedly made 24 hours after the abduction but there has been no sign of progress in the search for Latifi. According to the information gathered by RSF, the investigation is being hampered by a lack of coordination between the police and the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s main intelligence agency.
Many of the province’s journalists staged a demonstration on 7 December to demand more protection for media personnel.
Enikas TV has become one of the most popular privately-owned TV stations in Nangarhar and neighboring provinces since its launch two years ago by Latifi, who used to head the national radio and TV broadcaster’s operations in Nangarhar.
His driver, aged 37 and identified by the sole name of Kandehar, was the second non-journalistic media employee to be killed this year in Afghanistan. He had been Latifi’s driver for the past seven years.
Afghanistan is ranked 118th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.