Relatives of Zakia Zaki, who was shot dead overnight, weep as they sit by her body
(The following news culled from The Guardian and the Globe and Mail:)
“A prominent female Afghan journalist has been gunned down, the second such slaying in five days.
Unidentified gunmen fired seven bullets into Zakia Zaki, head of a local radio station, as she slept with her eight-month old son last night. She died instantly.
Zaki, 35, had run the US-funded station Peace Radio since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. She was also headmistress of a local school and ran for parliament in 2005.
She recently received warnings from powerful local commanders to tone down her reporting, according to the Afghan Independent Journalists Association. “This is a very bad day for female journalists. Our work is becoming increasingly dangerous,” said Farida Nekzad of Pajhwok, an Afghan news agency, after returning from Zaki’s funeral today.
The killing underlines the lawlessness that plagues even the most stable parts of Afghanistan and highlights the risks faced by young local reporters, particularly women.
The Afghan media flourished after the fall of the Taliban, which had allowed only one state-run propaganda broadcaster and several newspapers with religion as their main theme.
Today, there are eight television stations, 40 private radio stations and 300 newspapers and magazines. Editorials and columns regularily question the government’s decisions and female presenters appear on TV.
Last Friday Sanga Amach, a 22-year-old news presenter with a private television, was murdered at her Kabul home. A western security official in Kabul said it appeared to have been an honour killing.
Her death echoed a similar one two years ago, when a popular young presenter was also slain in her home. The main suspects were male relatives who felt the woman’s behaviour had impugned the family honour.”
Zaki and Amach were part of a growing movement of courageous female Afghani citizens, taking media and democracy into their own hands.
An old colleague from my early radio days, Jane Mcelhone, has recently worked in Afghanistan to train and support female journalists. Now she is organizing an important photo exhibit called VOICES ON THE RISE: AFGHAN WOMEN MAKING THE NEWS.
The exhibit touches down in Toronto, June 14th to July 5th, at the Alliance Française at 24 Spadina road. It then moves to The Toronto Public Library, City Hall Branch, July 9th to August 31st.
Add comment June 8th, 2007