Alarmingly for press freedom, three women media workers were killed in Afghanistan and six journalists arrested in Myanmar in the past two days.
The Afghani mediapersons were gunned down in the city of Jalalabad on Tuesday. Quoting police and unnamed government officials, CNN that the three women were killed on their way home from work by gunmen who shot them in the head before fleeing. A fourth woman was also injured and is fighting for her life in hospital.
The police claim to have arrested the suspected lead attacker. They suspect that he’s linked to the Taliban, but a Taliban spokesperson denied that the group was involved in the attack.
Zalmai Latifi, head of a local broadcaster, Enikas TV, where the three women worked, said they were all recent high school graduates, aged 18 to 20. They worked in the station’s dubbing department.
Meanwhile, six media workers, including Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw, were arrested in Myanmar while covering the protests against the recent military coup. Citing Zaw’s lawyer, Associated Press that the six mediapersons were charged with violating a public order that could lead to up to three years of imprisonment. The law “punishes anyone who causes fear among the public, knowingly spreads false news, or agitates directly or indirectly for a criminal offense against a government employee”, said the lawyer. It was reportedly amended last month to broaden its scope and increase the maximum prison term.
Apart from Zaw, mediapersons from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet, and a freelancer were arrested. The Committee to Protect Journalists said that the Myanmar authorities must stop harassing journalists for merely doing their job.
The violent military crackdown on demonstrators protesting the February 1 coup in Myanmar has been escalating. At least 18 people were killed and 30 wounded on Sunday, to the United Nations human rights office.