A prominent TV station in Kabul, Afghanistan was attacked yesterday, Nov. 7.
Shamshad TV was going about their regular daily broadcast when a bomb went off at the entrance of the building. Afterwards gunmen disguised as police officers stormed the station and began to shoot.
The station has high viewership, as it is the nation’s major Pashto-language broadcast and receives American foreign aid through advertisement expenditures.
The attack, which has been claimed by ISIL, lasted several hours, as the Afghan Special Forces stepped in to rescue and free those in the station.
A security guard has been confirmed dead. The initial bomb detonation appears to be the cause of death.
Around 20 other staff members have also been reported as injured.
Abid Ehsas, Shamshad TV director, was interviewed by another station soon after the attack. He reported that most of the employees had managed to safely escape, though many were injured, and some even “threw themselves off the building.”
This attack does not stand alone, as the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) recorded a total of 73 cases of violent attacks towards reporters in the first six months of 2017 alone.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), Afghanistan is only the seventh deadliest country for reporters. Iraq, Syria and Mexico take the top three spots in that order.
Clearly, those reporting from war-torn nations are suffering great consequences for their commitment to the truth.
Even those who aren’t serving in warring nations, suffer at the hands of organized crime and terrorism.
Despite this, the threat stops few from continuing their reporting.
Only hours after the attack at Shamshad, the station began broadcasting again.
Parwiz Sapy, one of the news anchors for Shamshad, went on air, declaring that the attack had ended, and giving out information on his colleagues.
Sapy had been injured by glass, and his hand was visibly bandaged while broadcasting.
Still, Sapy said that almost all the journalists at the station were back at work and ready to continue doing their job.
Afghanistan is not the only nation in which journalist face the threat of violence.
CPJ has reported the murders of over 50 journalist in 2017 alone.
In a previous issue, we reported on the assassination of Mexican journalists by organized crime. Recently, a Maltese journalist focused on corruption and known as the “one-woman WikiLeaks” was killed by a car bomb.
Violence towards journalists, or anyone seeking the truth, is not new, nor does it deter us from seeking the truth.
As journalists, we value storytelling, facts and authenticity.
Sapy and the rest of the staff at Shamshad TV demonstrated courage and dedication to the field that we can only aspire to have.
Despite the violence that they had just endured, those at Shamshad decided it was much more important to inform their viewers of the events than to sit safely off air.
Not many would have done the same, and these reporters should be recognized and applauded for their bravery.