The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) strongly condemns the brutal shooting of IAWRT member Malalai Maiwand and her driver in Afghanistan.
Malalai Maiwand was a 26 year old television presenter on 1TV News Afghanistan, renowned for her fight for women’s and children’s rights. She was shot by a gunman in Nengarhar Province in Afghanistan this morning. She was an active member of IAWRT and other civil society groups and had been under threat for some time.
Maiwand is the second female journalist killed in Afghanistan since mid-November. On November 12 Alyas Dayee was killed in a bomb blast in Helmand province.
IAWRT also strongly condemns the arrest of IAWRT Communications Officer, Lady Ann Salem, in the Philippines.
Lady Ann Salem (known as Icy), who is also the editor of alternative press, Manila Today, was arrested from her home this morning on unknown charges.
Icy’s colleagues learned of a raid in her Mandaluyong house at 9:00 AM on Thursday. Hours later Salem was found at the Criminal and Investigation and Detection Group facility of the Philippines police. There have been no details yet as to why she has been arrested. A lawyer has been assigned to her case.
It is especially devastating that both the murder of Malalai Maiwand and the arrest of Lady Ann Salem happened on the International Human Rights Day.
Another IAWRT member from the Philippines Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who was arrested in Tacloban City in February, is still in detention.
IAWRT demands that the authorities in Afghanistan investigate the murders of Malalai Maiwand and Alyas Dayee.
The Philippine government must immediately release Lady Ann Salem and Frenchie Mae Cumpio, as well as investigate disappearances and wanton arrests of journalists and put an end to the harassment of all journalists and human rights defenders.
– Instead of being the storytellers, journalists are fast becoming the story – being arrested, abducted, assaulted, and killed, says IAWRT President Violet Gonda.
– It’s normal for journalists to be the voice of the voiceless, but who is the voice for targeted journalists? Journalists can’t breathe! It is shocking that on the last day of UN Women’s 16 days of Activism against Gender based Violence we received the tragic news that our IAWRT members have been killed and arrested for just being journalists.
It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that newsrooms and the communities in which journalists work, are safe spaces. The role of the State is to promote democracy, peace and good governance. This means allowing dissenting voices to be heard.
Violet Gonda, IAWRT President