June 11th, 2007 05:51 EST
UNESCO Chief Condemns Murder of Two Female Afghan Journalists
The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has condemned the brutal murder of two prominent female journalists in Afghanistan.
Koïchiro Matsuura decried the “cold-blooded killing Zakia Zaki, founder of one of the first community radio stations run entirely by women in Afghanistan, radio Sada – e – Sulh (Peace) in Jabul Seraj.”
He noted that the murder followed the 1 June killing a few days ago of television journalist Shokiba Sanga Amaaj, in her home.
“I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these pioneering women, and I vigorously condemn their murders,” the Director-General said.
“These crimes are all the more shocking because they not only undermine the basic human right of freedom of expression, but also the right of women to exercise a profession that is vital for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.”
Reports from Afghanistan indicate that Zakia Zaki was killed early during the night of 5-6 June in her home next to her infant son. Reports indicate also that a suspect has been arrested for the murder of the 22-year old journalist, Shokiba Sanga Amaaj, who is reported to have been shot dead in her home in Kabul. Ms Amaaj worked as a reporter and presenter for the Pashtu-language private television channel Shamshad TV.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), suggests that she may have been killed “for the simple reason that she was a prominent media figure in a milieu that remains hostile to working women.”
In the documentary film “If I stand up” produced in 2005 by a group of Afghan camera-women as part of a UNESCO supported project, Zakia Zaki said: “ I created the first independent women's radio in Afghanistan . Every beginning is difficult, but I overcome the obstacles?It started broadcasting from Jabul Seraj during the Taliban?We work with men as well as women because if men respect women's sights, brothers to sisters, husband to wives, fathers to daughters, then women's rights might become reality.”